Nearly eight of ten nurses welcome a care reform that would see performance metrics used to assess the quality of care they provide to patients, an exclusive survey by Nursing Times has revealed.
Two-thirds of the 457 respondents believe the introduction of quality indicators, or performance ‘metrics’, for nursing will lead to improvements in the quality of patient care.
However, this is tempered by the finding that 42% think the indicators will have a negative impact on nursing morale.
Though respondents in general welcomed the new indicators - the government last week launched a consultation on their detail - they were cautious about how objective they would be and questioned how they would work in practice.
One respondent backed the measures ‘as long as the system of assessment is fair and consistent’, saying: ‘It must not be abused by managers or senior nursing staff to implement agendas other than the improvements in the quality of patient care.’
However, another respondent described it as ‘yet another stick to beat us with’.
‘I suspect in order to measure the quality this will mean more form filling and increased bureaucracy,’ they added.
The online poll asked for nurses’ views on various aspects of the government’s NHS Next Stage Review - the set of care reforms to follow the NHS Plan - that has been unveiled in stages since June. The results suggest that the nursing profession appears to be generally supportive of the government’s latest policy.
For example, 98% backed the introduction of preceptorships for all newly qualified nurses, one-quarter said they would consider setting up a nurse-led social enterprise scheme and three-quarters agreed that patients needed to be further empowered.
The overwhelming majority - 98% - backed junior health minister Lord Darzi’s intention that quality of care should be the new focus for the NHS.
‘Nursing was all about quality of patient care and then there was a shift - it is time to bring the focus back on it,’ said
Overall, just over 60% thought the NHS Next Stage Review would be of ‘some’ or ‘great’ benefit to nursing, while around 20% thought it would not change the current state of the profession. However, 26% of respondents said they considered the new NHS Constitution to be a ‘waste of time’.