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Looking to the future


The CNO Summit was an opportunity to recommit to our core purpose of providing safe, effective care, and address the challenges that involves - especially in the challenging times ahead.

The Summit was held over three days, from 11-13 November, in Newcastle, and focused on three main themes: where we are now, the future of nursing and midwifery, and caring, compassion and prevention.

Packed with master classes, plenary sessions and a range of guest speakers, the event also reached new heights in interactivity, with participants encouraged to make comments via live SMS messaging throughout the event.

Making an impact

CNO Christine Beasley announced the High Impact Actions that nurses and midwives across the country have agreed are essential to improve care and reduce costs for the future. They are:

  • preventing falls
  • keeping patients nourished
  • promoting skin care
  • speeding up the discharge process
  • protection from infection
  • end of life choices
  • reducing sickness absence among nurses and midwives
  • supporting natural birth.

Christine highlighted that, while these objectives are not new, the challenge remains around too much variation in service across England - not just in terms of money, but also in terms of the impact on people and their experience of the NHS.

It’s important to note, she said, that the High Impact Actions are not the only ones nurses need to consider; rather, they signify the start of the drive to improve services.


NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson has challenged the NHS to prepare for a funding shortfall of £15-20 billion in the financial years from 2011-2014 (see page 7).

This was the underlying topic throughout the Summit - the need to not only take waste out of the system, but also release cash into the system to re-invest in high-quality, efficient services.

Christine highlighted some of the great work that’s being done by nurses on the frontline, who are using innovation to increase efficiency and productivity. Homerton University Hospital has introduced ‘bump buddies’ to encourage more new mums to breastfeed; the West London Centre for Sexual Health’s Pearl Clinic is the only service tailored for people with learning disabilities; and East Lancashire PCT’s ‘Passing Go’ programme is encouraging families to get fit together - to name just a few.

Setting the direction

A lot of work is already under way to prepare the nursing workforce to meet the challenging times ahead, including the development of the Preceptorship Framework and the post-registration programme.

Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, announced the latest developments from Modernising Nursing Careers in England to deliver the High Quality Care for All policy.

Ann described nurses as the largest single profession within the health service, and are critical to the delivery of high quality healthcare. She also spoke about degree-level education, saying: ‘This is the right direction to travel in if we are to fulfil our ambition to provide higher quality care for all.’

We can discuss and encourage changes to the system, but we can’t deliver any of them unless nurses on the frontline are committed to driving them forward.

Perseverance and passion

Christine emphasised the need for ‘leadership at all levels’ - where nurses feel comfortable taking the initiative - and for all nurses to ‘energise for excellence in care’.

Clare Chapman, Director General of Workforce, who is responsible for workforce issues in the NHS and social care system, posed the question: how fit are we? She highlighted that in making services better for patients, we also need to take staff health and wellbeing seriously because this is directly linked to performance.

The recommendations in the Boorman Review - published earlier this month - highlight measures to prevent NHS staff time lost through illness.

Professor Philip Darbyshire spoke about the patient journey and the need for nurses to put themselves in their patients’ shoes to truly deliver high-quality patient care. He stressed the importance of remembering that nursing is ‘an awesome privilege’.

Class act

When it came to master classes, workshops and interactive discussions, there was something for everyone at this year’s Summit.

The sessions included an interactive discussion on the future of nursing, a Q&A with Christine Beasley, a session on making research come alive in everyday healthcare and a presentation by the Whizz-kidz charity’s Kidz Board.

During this session, young people with disabilities gave their thoughts on how to make a better NHS. Representatives from Dee Sign also gave a performance, using
British Sign Language to communicate the lyrics to popular music.


Readers' comments (2)

  • I work within a large Trust and am responsible for a robust preceptorship programme for all band 5 nurses both newly qualified and new to the hospital. Through audit we have a proven record that all nurses who come through this programme stay within the Trust unless they move to posts such as community, that we cannot offer. as a preceptorship framework and post registration programme is being set up, I wondered if you would like more information on our work so far and the future vision within this Trust

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  • Philip Darbyshire

    This really was a fantastic event. Senior nurses in the UK are so fortunate to have such a forum where nurse leaders from all across the country can come together for two or three days to network, discuss and THINK.

    It was an absolute pleasure to be part of it.

    Prof Philip Darbyshire, Adelaide, Australia

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