The final report of the Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery has called for all nurses and midwives to make a pledge to provide high quality, compassionate care.
The move confirms a recommendation made in a draft version of the report, as revealed by Nursing Times last month.
The commission hopes that such a pledge will help to restore public trust in the profession, following an increasing number of cases over recent years that have highlighted patients being treated with an apparent lack of dignity or compassion.
It is intended to complement the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s code and the NHS Constitution.
Health minister and commission chair Ann Keen said: “The Commission is clear that high quality, safe and compassionate care must rise to the top of the agenda for a 21st century world-class NHS. Nurses and midwives must renew their pledge to deliver this and employers must take responsibility for supporting them in this.
“If we are to build on the successes of the NHS and improve health and wellbeing, then we must ensure that nurses and midwives take their proper place as valued professionals at the heart of health care - delivering, leading and shaping care now and for future generations.”
The report, called Front Line Care, makes a total of 20 recommendations. Among these are the need to prepare nurses to meet the growing need for highly skilled care for people with long term conditions and the “complex needs of ageing”.
It also says that ward sisters, charge nurses and equivalent team leaders in the community and midwifery need “optimum support and training”. This is intended to help restore them to their “former traditional positions of authority as visible care champions”.
Additionally, it says the title “nurse” should be legally protected to reduce public confusion around roles and titles, that the Nursing and Midwifery Council should development regulation advanced nursing practice and that some form of regulation should be introduced for healthcare assistants and other non registered members of nursing teams.
The commission was set up by prime minster Gordon Brown in March 2009, with a mandate to advise him on how to build the future of health care, and give nurses and midwives a bigger say in service design and leadership as well as care delivery.
|The nursing and midwifery pledge to deliver high quality care|
|1 Every nurse and midwife will uphold the Nursing and Midwifery Council Code and the values of the NHS Constitution, wherever they work, and will accept responsibility for and take charge of the quality of care, service and outcomes for every service user in their care. Each one of us will speak out and act wherever and whenever care falls below the agreed standard.|
|2 Every nurse and midwife, acknowledging the huge public investment in the provision of health care in the NHS and elsewhere, will act to ensure that these resources are used to optimum effect for the benefit of service users and society. This includes making best use of our own time and expertise, and developing and adopting practices, services and lifestyles that are health-promoting and sustainable.|
|3 Nurses and midwives, recognizing our important role in improving health and wellbeing and reducing inequalities, will engage actively in the design, monitoring and delivery of services to achieve this. We acknowledge that we are seen as role models of healthy living and will try to live up to this responsibility.|
|4 Nurses and midwives, acknowledging the public investment in our education, training and continuing professional development, will commit to delivering care that is evidence-based and effective, and evaluating and researching it to expand our knowledge of what works best.|
|5 Nurses and midwives, acknowledging that we are responsible for ensuring that health care decisions are informed by our expertise, will engage more directly with policy-making and decision-making. This includes decisions on funding priorities, health care technologies, and the development of innovative models of care.|
|6 Nurses and midwives will lead and manage the delivery of high quality, compassionate care. We will be at the leading edge of innovation, always challenging the status quo and taking responsibility for creating new solutions.|