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PM orders regular ward rounds, nurse leadership and reduced bureaucracy


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.


New announcements:

  • Aim to have all hospitals implementing the NHS Institute ‘time to care’ initiative by April 2013. Focus targeted support on 20 trusts which would most benefit from intensive support, starting this month. It will particularly focus on the delivery of care to older people.
  • Red tape challenge: Ask the new Nursing Quality Forum to ask frontline nurses to identify which pieces of bureaucracy get in the way of them performing their jobs properly, and help us remove them.
  • Regular nursing rounds: The Nursing Quality Forum will be encouraging the adoption of this best practice by all hospitals by raising its profile and demonstrating the benefits to frontline nurse leaders. The NHS Institute will look to bring together this programme with the “time to care” initiative.
  • Nursing Quality Forum to identify good practice and advise on what is best to implement and, where barriers to adoption and spread exist, to advise on what can be done to remove them. For example Energising for Excellence initiative.
  • Nursing quality Forum to look at how to “secure greater frontline nursing leadership in the future”, “exhibit national leadership, to stimulate local action by those delivering care to address problems and promote the improvements needed across services”.
  • Local HealthWatch to lead new patient-led inspection regime to replace the old Patient Environment Action Team inspections. Healthwatch England will make sure independent patient views are incorporated in to the design. Inspections to cover consider cleanliness, food, privacy and dignity at a minimum.
  • New ‘friends and family test’ question in the national surveys – asking “whether patients, carers and staff would recommend their hospital to their families and friends in their hour of need”.

Readers' comments (48)

  • Marjorie Lloyd

    At last does this mean that the government are actually going to start listening to nurses?
    While it all sounds very exciting and empowering for nurses I fear that their voices will not be heard by simply creating another forum.

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  • The headlines this morning said less time to be spent on paperwork and more with patients....
    Well Hoorrah to that! Does that mean that we can stop filling in some of the assessment sheets that never see light of day anyway?...
    bed rail assessments for patients when we haven't got any bed rails?
    VTE assessments for pts already assessed in hospital?
    bone health assessments that are never seen by any medical staff?
    oh and ticking the right boxes so that we can "pretend" the patient ws discharged before midday?

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  • wooh at last I can stop filling in the rounding assessments when the patient is in the discharge lounge!
    May be I can now give my patient the choice of staying on the ward until discharge, rather than sitting them in an alien environment in the discharge lounge!
    Maybe can stop doing 4hry obs on day of discharge.
    So the 94 page Assessment document no longer required, I can start talking to my patients again!

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  • I would like to nominate Mike to take part in the forum and represent the voice of nursing.

    Then at least the Government might get to hear the real issues.

    Get in there Mike !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Lets see some action!! talking is cheap.

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  • John Howes

    I smell another self perpetuating oligarchy of the usual suspects generating another layer of bureaucratic matrons without portfolio. Meanwhile the redundancies continue and the subsequent deficiencies are supplemented by HCA's; plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!

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  • Politicalnurse

    Errrr has anyone done their sums for this?
    less nurses = less nursing care!

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  • Here we go again the poor nurse being held responsible. I do not disagree with what the prime minister says. But he needs to look at the whole picture the problem is management including nurse management sit in some remote office and implement all these rules, policies and endless paperwork nurses have to fill out. Yet they never seem to listen to the frontline staff who are more than qualified to explain to these implementers what works and what does not work. Another thing is the environment where nurses has to work at times in unsuitable conditions which is not good for patients either, again frontline staff are ignored when suggestions are made about changes that could be made and would save money in the long term. At the moment the NHS is at boiling point you have shortage of beds more and more wards closing, more people to be treated in the community and more nurses losing their jobs or being re-deployed elsewhere. That is not to say nurses do not understand the NHS need to implement changes and save money. Good example would it not be wiser if the different NHS Trust sorted out the community first by working with the various agencies so that when patients are discharged (or about to be discharge) you have things in place in the community. Then when you start closing wards, rearranging inpatient care at least you know services are in place in the community. Just a thought but as usual who will be willing to consult with frontline staff. I am curious how much are all these changes suggested are going to cost.

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  • All i can yeah to less paperwork.

    As for see patients every hour not really applicable in the community.

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  • What is an "intentional" nursing round? Does our PM mean routine ward rounds? Didn't we get rid of a lot of "routine" stuff way back because it was not actually necessary?
    And what's with this Time to Care malarkey? Time to care means more nurses to give that time to patients! Less nurses = less time. A simple equation. Easy to understand. So why are the govt cutting back on nurses?!
    Does not compute!!

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