The Chief Nursing Officer for England gives her message for the way ahead to the Royal College of Nursing’s Congress in Bournemouth:
The scale of this event, and the breadth of topics being covered, show what a wide-ranging role it is to be a nurse, and the number of areas where our profession is making an impact.
This breadth and depth is what makes nurses a vital part of implementing the new models of care stemming from the NHS Five Year Forward View. Work on these new models is already underway, and is shaping a different way of working, not only for nurses but for the health and care system as a whole.
As we develop more integrated ways of working with other health professionals and across boundaries, focus on prevention and behaviour change, help patients to self-manage, and work in partnership with patients and local communities, I am proud and encouraged that nurses are at the heart of leading and shaping these developments, and adding their specialist knowledge to the skills of others in order to meet the needs of our patients.
Judith Shamian, President of the International Council of Nurses, said last year: “As the largest group of health professionals, who are the closest and often the only available health workers to the population, nurses have a great responsibility to improve the health of the population”.
This is part of our strength, and is also our gift to colleagues in other clinical disciplines, as well as to carers and volunteers.
What do these new ways of working look like in practice? Here are just a few examples, but nurses and allied health professionals (AHPs) are at the heart of every vanguard site, working to deliver new models of care:
In Rotherham, GPs and community matrons work with advisors who know what voluntary services are available for patients with long term conditions. This “social prescribing service” has cut the need for visits to accident and emergency, out-patient appointments and hospital admissions.
In Airedale, nursing and residential homes are linked by secure video to the hospital allowing consultations with nurses and consultants both in and out of normal hours – for everything from cuts and bumps to diabetes management to the onset of confusion. Emergency admissions from these homes have been reduced by 35 percent and A&E attendances by 53 percent. Residents rate the service highly.
The Calderdale Health and Social Care Economy Vanguard site will initially work to deliver integration across all services delivering care in a community setting through a single point of access. This means that patients who, for example, currently need support from a district nurse, social worker and a local pharmacist will be able to access this range of support in one place through a co-ordinated approach to ensure their needs are met.
Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Erewash GP Provider Company, Derbyshire Health United (Out of Hours Service & 111) and NHS Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group made a joint application to become a Vanguard site.
The Vanguard will develop a prevention team made up of health and care professionals including GPs, advanced nurse practitioners, mental health nurses, extended care support and therapy support.
Its services will include care planning for people with long-term conditions including diabetes, chronic vascular disease and chronic lung conditions. There will also be focus on extending access to GP services.
Many more examples can be found on our website. As these examples show, nurses have come a long way from caps, cuffs and capes.
The Five Year Forward View recognises the extent and variety of what we are doing to benefit patients with safe and compassionate care, and gives us an ambitious framework within which to continue making a difference in many ways.