David Cameron today called for wider uptake of intentional nursing rounds and reduced bureaucracy, and established a nurse review group to address concerns about NHS care standards.
The Prime Minister praised nurses but said he had concerns about standards of care being provided in some areas. He called for several nursing initiatives to be taken up and extended (see box).
He said: “We need an NHS which ensures that every patient is cared for with compassion and dignity in a clean environment.
“If we want dignity and respect, we need to focus on nurses and the care they deliver. Somewhere in the last decade the health system has conspired to undermine one of this country’s greatest professions. It’s not one problem in particular. It’s the stifling bureaucracy.”
As revealed by Nursing Times yesterday, Mr Cameron announced the creation of a Nurse Quality Forum group to lead the uptake of good practice and recommend ways of improving care standards.
It will be composed nurses, nursing leaders and patients and be “charged with taking a national leadership role in promoting excellent care and ensuring good practice is adopted across the NHS”.
A Number 10 statement said: “The prime focus will then be to exhibit national leadership, to stimulate local action by those delivering care to address problems and promote the improvements needed across services.”
It is an extension of the NHS Future Forum, established in the spring to review government NHS policy. It is understood it will be chaired by Sally Brearley, a former nurse, expert on patient involvement and experience, and member of the National Quality Board.
Mid Staffs and others cases in recent years have sparked serious concern about care standards, with nurses often blamed.
Mr Cameron’s announcement also has echoes of the former administration’s Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery, which was set up by Gordon Brown and reported in 2010.