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Health secretary launches community 'named nurse' plan


Older patients should have a named nurse or doctor responsible for their care in the community, health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced last week.

The move is intended to ensure “accountability is clear” and forms part of a range of government proposals aimed at improving care for older people.

In a speech to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the NHS, Mr Hunt said: “The challenge of our time is to make radical improvements so that the NHS’ heaviest users – our most vulnerable and elderly – stay in good health and out of hospital.

“Too often these people have fallen through the cracks – ending up in hospital not by design, but simply because they can’t get the care they need elsewhere,” he said.  “That’s why we are asking the NHS to make one clinician responsible for their care in the community.”

It follows a speech made by Mr Hunt last month in which he said the name of the nurse or doctor responsible for a patient’s care in hospital should be written above their bed and which is already being piloted at several London acute trusts.

The Royal College of Nursing said it welcomed the idea of providing a named clinician for patients being cared for in the community.

RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “Community nurses are already essential co-ordinators for patients, and give advice and signposting to other services which may be required.”

But he added: “It is vital that the named clinicians in this role have the capacity and the organisational support to join up services so that patients experience a seamless journey from home to hospital and back again.”

Mike Hobday, director of policy and research at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We welcome plans to make the care of older people with long-term conditions more co-ordinated by giving them a named clinician when they leave hospital.”

A consultation on the government’s proposals – called the Vulnerable Older People’s Plan – was also launched on Friday. It is part of the latest NHS Mandate, the document setting out the government’s goals and targets for the health service for 2014-15.

The Department of Health will consult on proposals for the Vulnerable Older People’s Plan over the summer, with a final version due to be published in the autumn.  

Mr Hunt also paid tribute to the NHS, saying it had “done more to improve people’s lives that any other institution in our history”. 

“We express our thanks to the millions of hard-working NHS staff who literally save lives round the clock. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude,” he said.


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Readers' comments (31)

  • Anonymous | 5-Jul-2013 7:34 pm

    "Nurses paid at the old G grade did have continuing responsibility."

    Continuing responsibility meant that you took all reasonable measures to ensure that there were adequate appropriately skilled and trained staff to look after the patients in your area. It was not the same as being at the beck and call of everyone for every bout of sickness absence or staffing issue, when you were off duty. When I was a G grade, the world and his wife thought that it was perfectly okay to phone me at home in my own family time, when my long working week was done. We must NEVER return to that.

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  • I can see them now in their executive-grade office..."know...lets do this!!!...what a soooper idea! - the public will love it!"
    However - its a pea brained concept that, as already stated, is just designed to deflect away from the dire state our NHS has been driven to and will point the finger of blame at the individuals who continually strive to provide excellent care in these extremely difficult circumstances, rather than focus on those with the power to amend poor and ineffective systems and policies.
    P.S. Where exactly will all of these 'named nurses' appear from within the community? Is there a hidden treasure chest/pot of gold somewhere...or is he thinking of giving more responsibility to our HCSWs??!! Nothing would surprise me lately!!!

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  • "pea brained concept"

    only one more out of many which have been put forward so far mainly by Hunt on an almost daily basis to deflect from the main issues. it at least shows the NHS is getting some attention but little more at the moment! as none have any practical application they might make a good stuff for a comic strip!

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  • tinkerbell

    the ambulance chasing lawyers will benefit, another good old US of A way to do things, 'where there's blame there's a claim'. Everybody too frightened to do anything in case they do something wrong., Get better on your own on the NHS whilst waiting for someone to make a decision, the latest tory saving scam.

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  • 'pilot' in the London hospitals? really? sure it wasn't already being done.

    named doctors and nurses in the community - get real.

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  • tinkerbell

    i think someone ought to 'launch' him, preferably into outer space, where he can do the least harm.

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  • tinkerbell

    i'm starting to see JH in a new light as per his most recent photo shoot top left.

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  • michael stone

    tinkerbell | 7-Jul-2013 9:54 am

    Why do you want to launch the poor clown into outer space ? Are you one of those people who has a fear of clowns ? Anyway, we can't do it, because we scrapped our satellite launching programme decades ago (we just about got one into space, I think after the programme had officially been halted).

    I might have missed part of the plot, here (or the sun has got to me, possibly) - Tink's desire to get rid of clowns, is a new one to me. Unless - did the clown do something nasty to that photogenic cat Tink had posted pictures of ?

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  • tinkerbell

    michael stone | 7-Jul-2013 12:38 pm
    yes, I think I might be a bit clown phobic so am removing that avatar as I am finding it darkly sinister and a bit scary.

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  • tinkerbell

    that's better, everytime I saw the clown it made me jump and go argh!

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