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Nurse metrics to influence trust funding

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PCTs in the Midlands are seeking to build new quality indicators for nursing into their contracts with trusts

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust will, from the start of the 2010 financial year, have part of its annual funding from Birmingham East and North PCT decided by how well its nurses are performing against a new set of indicators.

This week the foundation trust – one of the largest in England – will be introducing a system of nursing metrics in six wards across the organisation’s four sites.

The metrics, which are intended to be rolled out across the whole trust within the next year, are based on seven indicators. These are falls assessment, medicine prescribing and administration, food and nutrition, pressure area care, pain management, patient observations and infection prevention and control.

The PCT has decided to use part of its contract with the trust to stipulate that improvements in nursing quality must be made from next year, as judged against a baseline set from the trust’s performance this year.

Nursing Times understands this is the first time a PCT has included a direct measure of nursing performance in a contract.

BEN PCT medical director Dr Doug Wulff said: ‘We were interested in supporting the trust on this. The first year will be the implementation phase and we will set milestones and work out how the metric information is reported and develop a baseline.’

He said the PCT was also interested in how it might be able to factor the measure of nursing metrics into its other contracts – for example with local mental health trusts.

Mandie Sunderland, chief nurse at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘It is something I think the commissioners will need in future to reassure themselves about the quality of care that it is being provided within the organisations they contract from.

‘For me this will be the first time I have been able to provide such detailed information about nurse performance,’ she added.

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