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Senior nurses must be fully responsible for nursing numbers and quality of care

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Directors of nursing and other senior nurses must be “fully accountable” for the quality of nursing in their service or organisation, according to the Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery.

The commission’s final report, Front Line Care, says variations in the standards of care provided across the NHS in England are “unacceptably wide”.

To improve quality and compassion in care, the commission wants all nurses and midwives to “declare their commitment to society and service users in a pledge to give high quality care to all and tackle unacceptable variations in standards”.

It said all directors of nursing, heads of midwifery and other nurses and midwives in senior management roles must uphold this pledge, and “accept full individual managerial and professional accountability for the quality of nursing and midwifery care”.

They must also “champion care from the point of care to the board”, and be accountable for agreeing the shape and size of the nursing and midwifery workforce.

The commission’s report states: “The boards of NHS trusts and other health employers must accept full accountability for commissioning and delivering high quality care, ensure clear lines of accountability and authority for care throughout their organisations, and appoint a director of nursing to champion care at board level.

“They must ensure that their cultures and structures recognize and support directors of nursing and senior nurses and midwives to execute their responsibilities fully in relation to quality and safety.”

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