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Productive Ward will drive up NHS quality

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Productive ward, an initiative that helps nurses to improve efficiency in their working environment, could also help deliver consistently high-quality care across the NHS, according to a nurse management expert.

The Productive Ward programme, which is currently being rolled out across the NHS in England, allows nurses to redesign
their services so that they are more efficient.

Lynn Maher, head of innovation and practice at the NHS Institute of Innovation and Improvement, spoke to NT after a debate at the Innovation Live conference in London last week.

Ms Maher, a former critical care nurse, said: ‘We know that there is variation across the country. What I think is we don’t do enough to identify the really good practices that are going on.’

She cited the Productive Ward scheme as a way in which nurses could innovate to improve services and eradicate the variation in quality that is a problem in the NHS.

‘Sometimes we are so locked into doing what we have always done that we are not actually working efficiently,’ she said.

‘What we have learnt from the Productive Ward is that, if you give some support to nurses to help them help themselves improve things, they can actually do it – it is bottom-up, supported change.’

The programme allows nurses to break a demoralising cycle of underperformance and criticism from management, she added.

‘Nurses can feel that they are being shouted at but not being helped. What we have seen is that nurses feel more empowered to sort out their own situation,’ she said.

Tricia McGregor, managing director of the social enterprise Central Surrey Health, told delegates that nurses would have to innovate if they were to keep pace with changes in the market-driven NHS.

‘You have to think of patients as customers,’ she said.

Click here for more information on the Productive Ward scheme and a toolkit on how to implement it.

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