The NHS five-year plan provides nurses and midwives with an “enormous opportunity” to showcase and further develop their professional role, England’s chief nursing officer has told Nursing Times.
The plan, which was launched yesterday, sets out a shake-up of service structures that include more leadership opportunities for nursing and midwifery staff in community settings over the next five years.
In an interview with Nursing Times about the reforms, CNO for England Jane Cummings said nurses and midwives should play an “integral” part in developing and implementing the new models of care put forward in the Five Year Forward View.
“This is a big opportunity for us to further develop the role that nurses and midwives can play”
The new care models aim to dissolve the boundaries between primary, community and acute care. One option – called the Multispecialty Community Provider – will see clinical leadership in primary and community care expanded to include more nurses, therapists and other professionals.
Another example aims to modernise maternity provision, with more birth outside of hospital, by making it easier for midwives to set up their own NHS-funded midwifery services.
Ms Cummings said: “I look upon this as a big opportunity for us to identify and further develop the role that nurses and midwives can play.
“The ability to provide care that is coordinated and often in one place – which some of the new models will identify – actually means we can do much better for our patients and enable staff to produce the right care in a way that is supported,” she said.
She added: “Whether you are practice nurse, a district nurse, a community nurse, a health visitor, a children’s nurse, a consultant nurse, specialist nurse, a hospital nurse – there are so many opportunities here for those staff who are all in leadership roles to really think about the way and where they provide care.”
Regarding workforce concerns, Ms Cummings said it was a long-acknowledged fact that more staff were needed in community services and the five-year plan was clear about the need for investment in this area.
Once the new care delivery options had been developed according to local needs in different parts of the country, NHS bodies should “make sure we are clear” about the additional numbers of midwives and nurses that may be required, she said.
The CNO said she believed these plans to shift care from acute to primary settings were different to previous attempts, such as the Transforming Community Service programme.
For the first time, there was a “collective will” across the leading NHS bodies – which all contributed the plans – to see the proposals implemented, she said.
She added that previously there was no acknowledgement that new types of service needed initial investment to become established, noting that the new plans were different in this respect.
“In the past there have been attempts to set up a service out in the community, but they either haven’t been funded properly or people haven’t had the confidence to use it, so people still end up coming into hospital,” she said. “What we’re saying now is we need to pump-prime and implement them properly, and demonstrate that they work.”