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How nurses can help translate STPs into a reality

Our National Health Service is all about people – those who work in it, and those they care for.

So I was pleased to see the recently released Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View gave recognition to the importance of nursing by including measures to attract top graduates into the profession, and to increase the number of registered nurses.

With our current nursing shortage, we need to attract as many people as possible into the profession, including mature students.

This mid-point review provides an important opportunity to examine if we are closer to achieving a joined up approach to health and social care.

Sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) have the overarching aim of bringing health and care services together to effectively deliver the services that communities need.  It is the whole system taking responsibility for a patient, rather than just a setting or group of professionals.

Integrated care is good for patients, if it is done well – people get the care they need when and where they need it from the right professional. Nursing staff already work collaboratively in multi-disciplinary teams and integration aims to remove the barriers to joined-up working.
Nurses are in daily contact with patients and families. We are in a prime position to support local communities to live healthier lives, prevent ill health and navigate the complex health and care system with our patients.

And if NHS England is able to deliver the planned improved cancer care, mental health services and access to GP services set out in Next steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View, recruiting and developing specialist and advanced level nurses will be key.

Nursing staff in all roles, and in all parts of the health and care system, can support STPs to go from aspiration to reality. But they can only do that if there is full opportunity for frontline nurses, or nurse leaders, to really engage and shape the debate around the future of health and care delivery.

Senior nurse leaders know and understand how health and care should be integrated. They need to be at the heart of the STP process so that full consideration is given to preventing proposals compromising either patient or workforce safety. I know that RCN colleagues will also be outlining any concerns about nursing workforce issues at Local Workforce Action Boards.

RCN members are ready to work with other health and social care professionals to deliver the 21st century health and care services our patients and their families need. Utilising their experience and skills is key to realising the ambitions in the Five Year Forward View and individual STPs.

Janet Davies

Janet Davies is Chief Executive and General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing.

Janet Davies is the Chief Executive and General Secretary for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the voice of nursing across the UK. The RCN promotes patient and nursing interests on a wide range of issues by working closely with the Government, the UK parliaments and other national and European political institutions, trade unions, professional bodies and voluntary organisations.

Prior to her current role, Janet was one of the Executive Directors at the RCN and took the strategic lead for nursing and service delivery to its members. Before joining the RCN, she had a long career as a Nurse within the NHS. She was Director of Nursing in West Lancashire and Liverpool and Chief Executive of Mersey Regional Ambulance Service.

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  1. Jan Grey says:

    Promotion of community nursing to support the wellbeing and improve patient outcomes is the way forward in achieving STP’s. People being cared for in their own homes by an integrated care service with the community nursing service as the primary contact for referral as they knowledge, relationships and insight of all the services available in the community.
    Too much emphasis is around the acute sector delivering the service when they do not have the knowledge or understanding of people lives at home. The acute sector’s role to provide essential, urgent planned procedural care. Having worked in both the acute and community, community definitely offers an holistic approach to care where people are in control of the choices they make.
    Increased funding for community nursing, social care and community mental health would provide the NHS with achieving their goals in reducing hospital admissions and provide the population with improved outcomes and wellbeing.