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EDITOR’S COMMENT

'Nursing needs its leaders to respond to Francis'

  • 11 Comments

Last week’s Robert Francis QC interview in Nursing Times set the cat among the pigeons. His allegation that nursing’s voice had been decidedly absent since he published his report sent shockwaves around the profession.

Controversial it may be, but you do have to take his point.

Nursing has to hold its hands up for playing a part in many - but by no means all - of the care failings at Mid Staffordshire. And yet we’ve seen few nursing directors or chief nurses revealing exactly how they intend to make sure that a Mid Staffs doesn’t happen on their watch.

In the pages of Nursing Times, we’ve been covering Francis report reactions, debates on the themes he raised and offering advice on how to improve practice. But what about the external face of nursing? Who is going out and reassuring their local communities about what is being done to ensure care meets a high standard?

Nationally, things aren’t much better. Even the Royal College of Nursing’s chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter reveals on page 2 that the college could have been clearer about when and what to expect from its response, which is due next month.

There were lots of good recommendations in Francis - key nurses, older people’s nurses and a duty of candour for staff - where is the push to take these suggestions forward?

The chief nursing officer’s call to action through the 6Cs and Compassion in Practice should galvanise the nursing workforce, but we need to hear from nursing leaders how those sentiments will make a difference to the care their patients are receiving.

The RCN has raised numerous concerns about the government’s response to Francis, such as students having to work for a year as a healthcare assistant before training. But there were lots of good recommendations in Francis - key nurses, older people’s nurses and a duty of candour for individuals - where is the push to try and take these suggestions forward?

One area that must change is transparency. Helene Donnelly, a key witness in the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Public Inquiry because of her whistleblowing experience as an A&E nurse at the trust, arguably helped shape Francis’ view of NHS culture.

She is continuing to do that in her new role as ambassador for cultural change at Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust. This new role, created by her chief executive Stuart Poynor, will encourage staff to raise concerns and challenge poor practice. This is what we need to see more of in the NHS.

We intend to help all staff find their voice and be supported when they do so. Sign up to our Nursing Times Speak Out Safely campaign at nursingtimes.net/sos and make the NHS a safer place.

Jenni Middleton, editor

jenni.middleton@emap.com. Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed

  • 11 Comments

Readers' comments (11)

  • Of course there is no voice from nursing directors. They already know what the problem is. Nurse to patient ratio, and they can do nothing about it because of the cuts. Also a completely disaffected nursing force.

    And as for that Cummings woman, she is still waiting for instructions from Jeremy Hunt about what to say.

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  • Hunt knows no more about patients and planning and running services to provide their care needs than I know how to design and build a construction like the Shard! :-<

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  • "The chief nursing officer’s call to action through the 6Cs and Compassion in Practice should galvanise the nursing workforce, but we need to hear from nursing leaders how those sentiments will make a difference to the care their patients are receiving".
    Jenni Middleton your obviously having a laugh, Jane Cummings 6Cs is a total irrelevance as you should well know if you have read the regular feedback from nurses. Is Ms Middleton not a nurse leader? her title of Chief Nurse would seem to suggest she is; surely she should be making some response. But as stated above she is presumably waiting on Jeremy Hunt to tell her what to say. I would suggest that when Francis made his comment on lack of nursing leadership a senior level, he had the Chief Nurse in mind.

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  • I am of the opinion that we need to adopt The Nursing Personnel Convention, 1977 (C 149) and the Nursing Personnel Recommendation, 1977 (R 157)
    ww.who.int/hrh/nursing_midwifery/nursing_convention_C149.pdf
    If our nursing leaders lack the will to address the issues highlighted in The Francis report, then let us adopt international policy?

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  • Health services are one of the fundamental sectors of society and the economy. The ILO endorses the fundamental principles of the human right to health and social security. Decent working conditions for health workers are essential to provide health services and to ensure that all members of society have access to social health protection. The lack of capacity to provide health services has significant effects on individual and public health, poverty, income generation, labour market productivity, economic growth and development. While the burden of disease and the demand for health services varies in each community, the affordability of health care challenges most countries. Therefore, many governments have considered or implemented wide-spread reforms of their health care systems, reshaping the employment environment for health care workers.

    In addition to promoting social health protection for all workers, the ILO supports better working conditions for health workers through sectoral labour standards and social dialogue. The shortage of trained health workers coincides with longer life expectancies, increasing use of specialized medical technology and the rise of new and drug resistant diseases. Meanwhile, hospitals and other health facilities are rarely considered as workplaces. As the demand for health services grows and the shortage of qualified health personnel becomes more severe, working conditions deteriorate and the quality of health care may be jeopardised. ILO collaborates with WHO to address these challenges by recognizing health facilities as unique work environments and encouraging improvements of working conditions so that health workers are encouraged and supported to provide high quality care in their own communities

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  • tinkerbell

    tinkerbell | 26-May-2013 3:44 pm

    it's all a bit of a farce, bring in a good man like Robert Francis QC, get him to make some good recommendations and then.......................................totally ignore them.

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  • tinkerbell | 26-May-2013 3:56 pm

    perhaps they didn't like the recommendations he made or they failed to meet their expectations! :)

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  • Well according to the Chief nursing Officer of Scotland speaking at a conference I attended, the Francis Report, although important, is not relevant to Scotland Nursing Practice. Astoundingly, she seemed to think that ascotland works differently to England & Wales, that it couldn't happen in Scotland. How blind can a leader of nurses be to think that what happened at Stafford could not happen anywhere. I and I would say most of the audience were astounded at her arrogance. Unfortunately, as she was late arriving there was "no time" at the end of her presentation to question her assertions and what she based them on.

    If this is an example as to what senior nurses think, then god help us.

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  • Anonymous | 28-May-2013 9:32 am

    doesn't she have e-mail or tweet where she can be challenged.

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  • Anonymous | 28-May-2013 10:02 am

    Good thinking! Although putting face to face questions to her at the time would have been more appropriate

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