Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

NHS England to rollout '6Cs' nursing values to all health service staff


Hospital porters, caterers, doctors and trust chief executives will be asked to embrace the “6Cs,” under plans to extend the set of core nursing values to all staff working in the NHS in England, Nursing Times can reveal.

The principles, which form the bedrock of the Compassion in Practice national nursing strategy, are to be rolled out to everyone in the NHS from July, one of England’s most senior nurses has told Nursing Times.

NHS England said the move was in response to demand from other professions, and came on the back of the “phenomenal success” of the initiative within nursing.

“Nurses have shown real leadership”

Juliet Beal

The 6Cs – care, compassion, courage, communication, commitment and competence – are a central plank of Compassion in Practice, which was drawn up by NHS England chief nursing officer Jane Cummings and launched in December 2012.

“In the last 15 months or so the 6Cs and those values and behaviours have started to inspire other professions across the NHS – and not just clinical professions,” said Juliet Beal, NHS England’s director of nursing: quality improvement and care.

Juliet Beal

Juliet Beal

“The rollout is for everybody who works in the NHS, from a ward clerk or porter to frontline staff, consultants and chief executives. It really is aimed at everyone.”

She said nurses and midwives should be “incredibly proud” to be at the forefront of what she described as an “amazing social movement”.

“Nurses have shown real leadership,” she said. “And that’s not about the central team that has been working on it, but nurses and midwives on the ground, at the frontline, who have inspired others.”

Ms Beal said there had been a “huge amount of interest” in the 6Cs and she and her colleagues had already given presentations across the country to diverse groups, including healthcare scientists, hospital caterers, allied health professions, doctors, and chief executives.

“Nurses and midwives often ask why doesn’t this apply to doctors and allied health professions”

Juliet Beal

She said applying the values to the whole of the service was about “creating the right culture to provide really excellent care”. “Even if you’re working in finance you still need a set of values for working in that care setting,” Ms Beal added.

Questioned whether she feared that extending the initiative to all NHS workers would remove ownership of the scheme from nurses, and risked diluting the message, she said: “I don’t think that is a risk.

“The 6Cs are well embedded and often nurses and midwives ask ‘Why doesn’t this apply to doctors, allied health professions?’. They think the same values and behaviours should apply to all people across the NHS,” she said. “That’s the feeling I have got.”

Ms Beal said a key to the nursing strategy’s success was that its six core values had been underpinned by a framework setting out various action points at local and national level, which were backed by the Department of Health, Public Health England, Health Education England, regulators, employers and nursing unions.

This includes commitments specific to nursing, which cover staffing levels, support for nurses, leadership within the profession and ways to measure and monitor quality care.

Ms Beal said that, while the 6Cs would stay the same, the support framework may well be different for different professions.

“People will need to develop those values in a way that’s relevant to the place they work in,” she said. “It’s not something we’re going to be imposing on people to do in a certain way.”

The national rollout will begin with an event in London on 4 July, which will be called The 6Cs for Everyone – Let’s Start the Conversation. This will be followed by four regional events.

“The most important thing is for everybody to get engaged in this”

Juliet Beal

Ms Beal said her team at NHS England was working closely with the NHS Clinical Leaders Network – a national network for practicing clinicians in England – to look at ways of engaging different healthcare professions. Meanwhile, the 6Cs Live! website will be developed to make it relevant to other staff groups.

Ms Beal said nurses and midwives would be key in spreading the word about the 6Cs to other staffing groups. “They can start to get other professions involved in what they’re doing at ward level and trust level,” she said.

“The most important thing is for everybody to get engaged in this, talk about it locally in team meetings, and in particular in multi-disciplinary teams in trusts or clinical commissioning groups,” she told Nursing Times.


Readers' comments (44)

  • Unfortunately history and evidence tells us that the NHS is not staffed with people who are 100% signed up to these values. I think it's important that we have a yard stick by which we can measure care delivery and the 6C's is a way of doing that.
    If you're signed up to them - then you should recognise your practice is being reinforced and should have pride that you are the type of nurse the NHS needs. If these aren't your values, then perhaps you should consider your position.
    Lots of people say it is sad or derogatory that we have got to this place, perhaps I agree, but perhaps they should read the Francis report, countless reports from the patients association or walk into their complaints office and ask to see what some patients in their organisation have experienced.
    We either take the view that things are not right and something needs to be done, or we become professionally defensive and let some patients receive sub-optimal care. I know where I sit and, thankfully, most of the profession!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It is unrealistic to expect to find all six Cs inside one wrapper!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The 6cs are very important as
    1 This gives the Chief Nursing Officer something to do all day
    2 Gives press briefings to remind the public - and the Nurses - she really exists
    and the most important reason is:
    It distracts us to the facts that Jane Cummings has no power at all
    Can she give nurses more money?
    Can she fine hospitals and trusts when something goes wrong?
    Can she defend nurses when they are attacked and vilified in the press?

    I cannot resist this:
    "The 6cs will be rolled out across the country. The 6cs will finally give nurses what they need to look after patients - six more words to their vocabulary! Hurrah!
    The fact that nurses have actually been able to look after patients for hundreds of years without these has been quietly forgotten and those who remember will be forced to watch Angels or Call The Midwife for at least 1 year without rest.
    Only after every single nurse in every single ward in every single hospital in every single trust has these stuck onto their them then we will move onto another publicity stunt"

    These Cs will be rolled out on wheels hospital after hospital until all the nurses mention these in their sleep or start running away from the PowerPoint slides after seeing these for the 100000th time.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • will the 6cs apply to mr Hunt ?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 102050results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.