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Nurses to be judged on 'compassion'

Published on 04 December 2012 11:30 AM

Following several recent concerns over substandard NHS services, a new strategy to improve care within the health service will be launched in a speech this week by Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England.


Nurses are to be judged on how compassionate they are towards patients and Ms Cummings will highlight the need for patients to be treated also with respect by nurses, midwives and care staff.

Ahead of her speech this week in Manchester, in which she will say that poor care is a 'betrayal' of the values of the caring professions, details were released to help promote the new three-year strategy Compassion in Practice. The strategy has been launched following an eight-week consultation involving more than 8,000 care staff and patients.

An 'extraordinary role'

In the speech, Ms Cummings will remind people that being a nurse, a midwife or a care worker is an extraordinary role, into which everyone comes because they want to make a difference to the people they care for and support.

Nursing staff care for people in their own homes, in communities, hospices and hospitals, and Ms Cummings will stress that staff are proud to be part of a remarkable health and care service that does make a difference to people's lives each and every day.

However, Ms Cummings will highlight in her speech that the context of health care and support is changing, most notably because people are living longer and, therefore, there are greater numbers of patients to support, many of which have multiple and complex needs.

Poor care acknowledged

The speech will accept that while the health, care and support system provides a good, and often excellent, service, there are flaws. There will be an acknowledgement that there is poor care, and that this is a betrayal of what the NHS stands for.

Under the new drive for improvement, recruitment, appraisal and training of staff will be based on values in addition to technical skill. Ms Cummings insisted that the measures, which were developed with the help of nurses, midwives and care staff, will change the way the system works and could transform the care of patients, thus ensuring a culture of compassionate care is delivered.

Health Minister Jeremy Hunt delivered perhaps the most damning statement on the current issues facing the NHS last week, when he claimed there was a 'crisis in standards of care' in some hospitals and care homes.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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