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Nurse director aims high for Basildon


The new nursing director at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust has said nursing staff morale is now “very good”, and that she wants the hospital to become one of the best in the country.

Diane Sarkar said making herself visible to nursing staff and board members was a central theme in helping to improve nursing quality at the hospital, 12 months after it was heavily criticised by the Care Quality Commission last November.

The CQC concerns were followed by a report in March by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which highlighted “a perceived lack of confidence in the ability of the chief executive and director of nursing to foster a culture of strong leadership and team working amongst the nursing and midwifery staff”.

Ms Sarkar was appointed director of nursing last week, having held the post on an interim basis since September. By the time of her appointment, four of the five conditions for registration imposed on the trust by the CQC in April – including the condition relating to the NMC’s concerns – had been lifted.

Ms Sarkar told Nursing Times the next year would be challenging for the trust as it attempted to continue to improve quality while also dealing with the financial pressures facing the NHS as a whole.

But she said: “We have to aspire to be the best. I will be challenging to them [nursing staff] and also to the board.

“One of the key challenges is to energise the nursing and midwifery workforce here. It’s about enhancing confidence, among both patients and staff.” 

Key to this, she said, was maintaining her own high visibility to staff, patients and managers.

Ms Sarkar said: “For me as director of nursing, it’s vital that I’m visible. I need to be seen. That is one of the controls I can use to give assurance to the board.”

She has begun work on a
new nursing and midwifery strategy for the trust and is also
“rebadging” the trust’s nursing directorate as a directorate of quality, innovation and patient safety, to increase its influence at board level.

Ms Sarkar’s appointment coincides with the launch this week of the public inquiry into care failings at Mid Staffordshire foundation trust – another trust whose high profile problems included failures in nursing standards.


Readers' comments (5)

  • Rebadging? Out of all the improvements (or lack thereof) that could have been discussed in this article, 'rebadging' a nonsense word that measns nothing is worthy of reporting. Itt gives the impression that rather than actually proving that she is a nurse director to be reckoned with by tackling poor practice and the systems that lead to bad practice, it's easier for Ms Sakar to fall in with management idocy and 'rebadge'....

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  • “rebadging” the trust’s nursing directorate as a directorate of quality, innovation and patient safety, to increase its influence at board level.
    For goodness sake does this not point out that the sheer mention of the word nurse carries no clout in the Trust! Making up some airy fairy title to disguise Nursing only shows the lack of understanding of the profession- I despair!

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  • Oh for crying out loud! What is the point really?

    I despair for the profession as long as people like her get to the top! No wonder it is in such bad shape!

    Since Diane Sarkar was presumably once a staff Nurse 'on the front line' so to speak, did little things such as fighting to increase the staff budget and introducing a QUALIFIED Nurse/patient ratio with an appropriate number of HCA's on each and every ward, or insisting that staff training is constant, of high quality and easily accessible for ALL staff, etc etc etc, not occur to her?

    It doesn't matter how visible she is if she proves as pointless as almost every other 'yes man' at the top of the tree!

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  • Hey lets give her a chance to see what she can really do. I work at the trust and hope that she can make real changes to how nurses work and how they are viewed by the Board etc. So come on guys and gals give her a chance.

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  • Anonymous | 3-Nov-2010 1:46 am, hmm, maybe. It isn't looking promising with her initial outpourings though is it? Rebranding?

    Let us know if your staffing levels per shift double or you get better working conditions? If that happens I'll be glad to eat my words and come and work for her trust! Until then ...

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