Press release

Prime Minister orders search for best practice in nursing care

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

"Nurses are some of the most caring, compassionate people in the country and I want to do everything possible to allow them to do a fantastic job."

The Prime Minister will today set out the next steps of his campaign to work with nurses to improve standards of care for all NHS patients. He has asked the first meeting of the the Nursing Care Quality Forum in Downing Street to ‘scour the country, find out what works best and share it across the NHS.’

The PM set out his determination to prioritise respect, dignity and compassion in nursing care in January and today he will task a forum of 22 frontline nurses, patient representatives and medical experts with exploring four key areas to deliver improvements in care in the community, health centres, GP services and hospitals. They are:

  • making sure that nurses have the time to give high-quality care to patients;
  • involving, listening to, and responding to feedback from patients;
  • promoting nurse leaders who are accountable across the NHS; and
  • encouraging the right culture and the right values.

As part of this drive the Prime Minister will also invite nurses and doctors to identify the best ways of using patient feedback to make positive and lasting improvements in healthcare and put the patient firmly at the heart of NHS care.

The NHS Patient Feedback Challenge, backed by a £1m fund and run by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, will select the most ambitious ideas and seek to implement them across the country from July 2012.

The Prime Minister will say that while the overwhelming majority of NHS patients receive good care, we need to be sure everyone is looked after in a way that is not only clinically safe - but also with dignity, compassion and respect - in clinics and wards that are clean and well ordered, and where staff have the time they need to care for patients.

Examples of existing good practice are freeing up nurses from unnecessary form filling and hourly nursing rounds to help nurses respond to patients’ immediate needs, check their medical condition and build trust and confidence among patients in their care.

The Prime Minister said:

I know that going into hospital can be an incredibly anxious time. And as treatments become more and more complex, nothing counts more than a friendly face and a calming word.

That’s why I’m right behind our campaign to help nurses provide the very best care possible. Nurses are some of the most caring, compassionate people in the country and I want to do everything possible to allow them to do a fantastic job.

That means learning from the best - and helping everyone to match those great standards. That’s why I’ve asked the Nursing and Care Quality Forum to scour the country, find out what works best and share it across the NHS.   “We’ve seen how innovative changes to nursing can increase patient trust and confidence in their care. These are the kind of ideas we need to explore if we are to change the way nursing works and restore a sense of pride in the profession.” 


Nursing Care Quality Forum:

The Prime Minister and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced their intention to set up the Nursing Care Quality Forum as part of a new drive to free up nurses to provide the care patients and relatives expect on 6 January 2012.

The forum has its own independent chair and a membership of 22 healthcare professionals to bring diversity in knowledge, expertise and experience. It will be expected to use research, establish an evidence base, listen to a wide range of views and help implement best practice.

NHS Patient Feedback Challenge:

The Challenge opens on 23 April and invites individual NHS organisations or groups of NHS organisations to submit bids for funding which will be assessed by an independent panel. Following selection, funds will be awarded to the most promising bids and from July 2012, organisations will start to put their ideas into action.

From recent Kings Fund/Kings College London research we know that the NHS needs to go much further in how it captures and acts on patient experience in line with what matters most to them.

The Operating Framework for 2012-13 and the NHS Outcomes Framework, which give patient experience a high priority, will help drive this forward.