“Absolute transparency is the key to driving improvements in standards of care” says Chief Nursing Officer

The Chief Nursing Officer for England today called for further improvements in care standards and transparency and the creation of a culture of empowerment in the nursing and midwifery profession, saying:

“Absolute transparency is the key to driving improvements in standards of care. We need to ensure that every single patient receives great care, every time.”

Jane Cummings will address over 450 health professionals and leaders at the annual Chief Nursing Officer’s Summit in Birmingham (26th and 27th November).

Jane Cummings says:

“Failings such as those at Mid Staffordshire and Winterbourne View threatened patient confidence and challenged us all as professionals.

“The response to these failings has been the focus of the health system over the last year with the overriding question being – what do we need to do to ensure this is never repeated.

“This was central to the development of the Compassion in Practice strategy, which was developed last year and published in December 2012. The aim was to get back to the very essence of what great care means for patients and how we can put far reaching changes in place that translate into real improvements for our patients and the staff who care for them.

“We have listened to patients and staff in developing the 6Cs (Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage, and Commitment). Over the last year I have witnessed a widescale, positive embrace of the 6Cs as a set of values; the likes of which I have never seen before. It has re-instilled a common purpose and recharged pride in the profession.

“Never before has change been more important. Absolute transparency is the key to driving improvements in standards of care and we need to ensure that every single patient receives great care, every time. Today trusts in the North of England will publish safety, effectiveness and experience data; with the overall aim of driving improvements in practice and culture.

“This includes reporting on patients who develop pressure ulcers and patients that fall while in hospital. This will be combined with the results from the Friends and Family Test, the NHS safety thermometer, patient and staff experience surveys and patients stories, all in one place, to not only build up a picture of care quality but also of an excellent and open reporting culture.

“This is a great example of the kind of transparency I am talking about. Our patients and their families and carers will be the judge of whether we are succeeding. Through surveys such as the Friends and Family Test – which provide regular feedback – and by demonstrating the impact care is having on our patients, we can assess whether this is the case.

“Nurses, midwives and care staff have a personal and professional responsibility but there needs to be a continued strengthening of leadership from Board to ward. We need a culture of support, of openness and transparency where staff feel free to speak out, to challenge incidents of poor care and take immediate action to put things right.

“We also need to do more to ensure that we have the right teams of staff with the right skills to deliver the best possible care for each specific situation. I sponsored the National Quality Board to develop staffing guidance for providers and commissioners, which was published last week. The guidance puts a renewed focus on the responsibility that healthcare providers have in taking an evidence-based approach to staffing.

“Going forward, we need to ensure that excellent practice and culture is embedded in all corners of the health and care service. Our profession is the admiration of many. We see people at their most vulnerable and we have a duty to always act with compassion for our patients and act with the courage to challenge anything that goes against this. Each one of us in the profession needs to ensure that we live by these principles each and every day.

“I have travelled the length and breadth of the country this year and heard heart-warming stories of truly exceptional patient care where staff have gone above and beyond the call of duty and made a real difference. I’m proud to be a nurse and I know that the vast majority of my fellow nurses, midwives and care staff have, and always will, deliver great care.”

As part of her keynote speech, Jane Cummings will announce the following:

  • The publication of the ‘Compassion in Practice: One Year On’ report (this document is no longer available here but can be found on the National Archives website) which will reflect the impact that the nursing, midwifery and care strategy has had since its publication in December 2012. It will show progress against the strategy and includes patient and staff stories and case studies.
  • A call to action for nurses to join the 6Cs Live! social media network (which was launched earlier this year) with the aim of creating the largest nursing social media network – from Board to ward – in NHS history. The 6Cs Live communications hub can be viewed here.
  • More data in the public domain – As part of a pilot, 16 acute trusts in the North of England will today publish the following data with additional northern Trusts publishing in December this year:
    • Reporting on pressure ulcers developed in hospital
    • Reporting on falls in hospital
    • The results of the NHS safety thermometer
    • Friends and Family Test scores
    • Infection – MRSA and C Difficile figures
    • Patient and staff experience survey questions
    • Patient stories.

This combination of data is designed to improved openness and transparency and report on quality and safety indicators. The data will be displayed on each Trust’s web site and NHS Choices will provide a link on their website to the organisations publication template. A link to the data will also be available on the NHS England website.

The aim is to expand this to the rest of the country and other care sectors.

One comment

  1. shelley barraclough says:

    Hi ild love to help and get involved due to my recent stay at nhs treatment center. It opened my eyes and I was aware of the issues but I hadn’t experienced these myself so I couldn’t comment. Well now I can we need change in the system for staff and for patients. Also promote well being into our system or an ambassodor who goes into hospitals, doctors, NHS, etc so we can listen to patients n try to help or make a complaint. Because as you know some people have got serious learning difficultys or afraid to speak out I live in Darlington County Durham pls help me move forward and get some change!