The launch of the strategy for the NHS, Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS, has provided an opportunity for all nurses and midwives to debate and discuss both the challenges of how services are delivered to people and the opportunities that will arise to ensure patients are at the heart of everything we do.
In setting this new direction there will undoubtedly be a lot of uncertainty about the implications for people who use the NHS, staff as individuals and healthcare teams. This is inevitable when wide-ranging changes are proposed.
However, as nurses and midwives we know the importance of remaining focused on the people to whom we provide care and support on a daily basis. At the same time as considering the future shape of services, it is crucial to identify how to improve quality and reduce costs in all our services. Nurses and midwives are well placed to identify where inefficiencies exist, as they are closely involved in the delivery of care and services every day. The recent launch of the High Impact Actions - The Essential Collection, provides examples of real case studies where nurses and midwives are taking the lead in delivering innovative and efficient care. I would urge you all to take time to look at the case studies.
Improving the experience of patients is strongly linked to ensuring people have access to relevant information and where necessary support to access it. I am confident that nursing will readily respond to helping people navigate their way around the variety of information sources to ensure they are able to make the right choice. In particular, across services for pregnancy and childbirth, mental health services, long-term conditions and end of life care. Working across traditional organisational boundaries in health and social care is not a new feature and there is a lot to learn from nurses working in mental health and learning disability settings.
Liberating the NHS: Commissioning for patients was published on the 22nd July. This consultation document provides detail on the proposed arrangements for GP Commissioning consortia and the relationship with the NHS Commissioning Board. One of the key questions posed within the consultation is how to ensure the effective involvement and sustainability of other professions in commissioning. I would encourage all nurses and midwives to engage in both of these consultations either through their employer, professional organisation or as an individual.