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It is nearly a year since Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for England launched Leading Change, Adding Value; a framework for nursing, midwifery and care staff in England. Susan Aitkenhead provides an overview of the work to date and what this means for nursing, midwifery care staff and what this means in practice.
The framework is aligned to the Five Year Forward View and explains how nursing, midwifery and care staff, can lead in reducing the three gaps of health and well-being, care and quality, and funding and efficiency, by identifying and addressing unwarranted variation.
An annual CNO for England’s Summit is held and usually attended by up to 500 senior nurses, midwives, patient representatives, academics and national and international leaders involved in shaping the future of health and care. Last year these delegates reached a consensus on the content of Leading Change, Adding Value and particularly requested a focus on how we continue to place nursing, midwifery and care staff as leaders of change.
This year’s CNO Summit was held in March and was aligned to the 10 commitments in Leading Change, Adding Value; with the summit centred on four themes of innovation and improvement, leadership excellence, culture, personalisation and experience.
It also provided an important opportunity for those senior leaders to come together to discuss the many challenges currently faced across the health and care system such as increased demand, financial constraints and the need to drive safe and effective transformation across health and care.
A session on digital transformation and information, particularly the leadership role of nursing, midwifery and care staff in this area was extremely well received. A panel of strategic and frontline leaders discussed the transformational benefits of technology and the key role of nursing, midwifery and care staff in this work.
Interesting debate was had on areas such as the challenges of interoperability especially in relation to community services, digital and data literacy, the need for a common nursing language, and checking that local information governance rules were regularly reviewed to avoid any unnecessary obstruction to the implementation and use of health and care technology.
The need to ensure that nursing, midwifery and care staff are always involved from an early stage in ensuring that digital applications provide the relevant and appropriate pathways of care for areas of practice was also advocated by colleagues currently involved in large scale implementation work. An ambition to be involved was echoed by delegates.
Readers will be aware that the Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View was published on 31 March 2017. This plan charts practical and realistic next steps for the next few years on the continued delivery of the Five Year Forward View and has a separate chapter on Harnessing Technology and Innovation.
This reiterates that the NHS needs to leverage the potential of technology and innovation, supporting individuals to take an active role in their own health and care while also enabling NHS staff and care colleagues to do their jobs – such as having instant access to patient records from wherever they are, or to remote advice from specialists.
Nursing, midwifery and care staff make up a huge part of the health and care workforce and their knowledge, experience and collective ambition is crucial to the successful delivery of this digital transformation work.