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Nursing regulator finds ‘improving picture’ on Guernsey

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The have been improvements “across the board” in midwifery supervision and pre-registration nursing education in Guernsey, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The regulator last week concluded a return review visit to the Channel Island as a follow-up on its extraordinary review in October 2014.

The extraordinary review was sparked by the death of a baby at the island’s Princess Elizabeth Hospital that called into question the quality of midwife supervision on Guernsey.

Poor midwifery practice had been reported internally regarding the neonatal death but not thoroughly investigated, said the report following the review.

Problems were also identified with the quality of practice placements for student nurses.

As part of its follow-up, from 2-4 November, the NMC observed clinical practice, interviewed nurses, midwives, students and patients, and visited over 23 different clinical areas based in the community and at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital.

Commenting on the return review, NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith said: “It has been heartening to see the considerable improvements that have been made in Guernsey since we were here last year.

“Both the leadership team and frontline staff have demonstrated a real commitment to do the best possible job for patients,” she said.

She added: “It is essential that the health and social services department maintains this momentum in order to keep the progress in governance, leadership and culture on the right track.”

“It has been heartening to see the considerable improvements that have been made in Guernsey since we were here last year”

Jackie Smith

Ms Smith noted that “significant progress” had been made on preparation for the new system of revalidation and Guernsey was “now leading the way”, compared to the rest of the UK.

Deputy Paul Luxon, minister for Guernsey’s health and social services department, said: “The issues that underpinned the NMC’s extraordinary review were of the utmost seriousness and the NMC’s findings revealed widespread failures across a number of areas of the maternity service.

One year on, it is of huge importance that the community has been provided with assurance from this independent expert body that HSSD had made significant and effective progress against its October 2014 findings and recommendations,” he said.

Mr Luxon said the positive feedback received from the NMC was the product of many people’s “tireless work over the last year”.

“I wish to thank and congratulate them, especially our nurses and midwives,” he said. “We have come a long way in a short time.

“We know that we have more progress to make – but, I hope that nurses and midwives throughout HSSD can take genuine pride in the positive outcomes their hard work has produced,” he added.

The department said that, over the past year, it had made big improvements in a number of areas.

For example, it had strengthened clinical leadership through investment in recruiting additional senior nurses and midwives, including a new chief nurse.

It had also strengthened performance management through the introduction of the “vital signs” performance framework, the use of a “safety thermometer” and the implementation of the Nursing Assessment and Accreditation System.

“I hope nurses and midwives can take genuine pride in the positive outcomes their hard work has produced”

Paul Luxon

In addition, it had improved communications through events such as routine “big conversations” for staff and fortnightly ward to board events and engagement.

The nursing and midwifery workforce had been increased so that staffing levels were “more robust” and ensured statutory rules and standards governing the supervision of midwives were “met in full”.

Meanwhile, it had tripled the level of essential training provided to staff, successfully restarted the pre-registration nursing degree programmes for second and third year students – with all 41 mentors now fully “in date” and adequately prepared to support students nurses.

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