A new system designed to improve the quality of nursing care in Scotland is currently being trialled at sites across three health boards.
Health secretary Shona Robison met with nursing staff today from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, one of three health boards in the country to trial the new system.
“It gives frontline staff a greater understanding of the high standards they are expected to achieve”
Known as the Care Assurance and Accreditation System – or CAAS – it is intended to ensure nursing staff at all levels have a better understanding of both frontline and management issues, noted Ms Robison.
The overall aim, according to the Scottish government, is to allow more delegation of decision-making responsibility to frontline nurses and midwives, and release senior staff from office-based functions to spend more time on patient care.
Ms Robison said was idea was to “bring the NHS back to its roots”.
“It gives senior managers the chance to spend more time on patient wards, and gives frontline staff a greater understanding of the high standards they are expected to achieve,” she said.
“It puts patient care at the heart of the decisions made in the NHS, ensuring nursing and midwifery managers are visible on the wards, and empowering frontline staff to take on more responsibility,” she added.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde chair Andrew Robertson said implementing the new programme would bring “real benefit” on the wards by ensuring “effective close team working and linkages to the core values of nursing and patient care at every level”.
The CAAS – Care Assurance and Accreditation System sees senior charge nurses, midwives and team leaders empowered to lead their teams to deliver 13 professional standards of care consistently across all areas of NHS service delivery.
“It is vital Scotland introduces an effective, evidence-based assurance system so…there are enough appropriately qualified nurses in place to provide safe and effective care.
It feeds into work on Scotland’s National Approach to assuring Nursing and Midwifery Care, which ministers requested that nurse directors take forward following the Vale of Leven Hospital Inquiry.
The approach is being trialled by Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, and Ayrshire and Arran in adult acute, inpatient mental health, maternity and paediatrics hospitals. In future, it will also cover community midwifery, paediatrics, and adult nursing and health visitors.
The Royal College of Nursing highlighted that the system being trialled was “just one of many models” available and that, to be a success, it would need “buy-in” from key stakeholders across the country.
RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe, said: “It is vital that Scotland introduces an effective, evidence-based assurance system so that patients and the public can be confident there are enough appropriately qualified nurses in place to provide safe and effective care in hospital wards, clinics and communities.
“I’m sure the cabinet secretary [Ms Robison] is as committed to developing an assurance system based on evidence and sound analysis as senior nurses across the country are, and I hope that she will ensure that a system that benefits patients in all parts of the country is taken forward,” she added.