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CNO calls for nurses to be 'empowered'

A culture of empowerment for nurses and midwives must be created, according to England's Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Jane Cummings. 

Cummings, speaking at the CNO Summit in Birmingham today, will say she believes there must be continued leadership from “Board to ward”. 

Her speech will herald the publication of Compassion in Practice: One Year On, a report which aims to show the impact of the nursing, midwifery and care strategy since it was implemented in December 2012. 

The report will show the progress of the strategy, including patient and staff stories. 

Failings such as those in Mid Staffordshire and Winterbourne View threatened patient confidence and “challenged us all as professionals”, Cummings said. 

Responding to these failings has been the health services' focus over the last year, she believes. 

Cummings said: “The aim was to get back to the very essence of what great care means for patients and how we can put far reaching changes in place that translate into real improvements for our patients and the staff who care for them.

“Never before has change been more important. Absolute transparency is the key to driving improvements in standards of care and we need to ensure that every single patient receives great care, every time.” 

Hospital trusts will now publish safety, effectiveness and experience data with the aim of driving improvements in practice and culture. 

The information will be combined with the results form the Friends and Family Test, the NHS safety thermometer and patient and staff experience stories to build a picture of the quality of care, as well as create an open reporting culture. 

The CNO's aim is to expand this to the rest of the country and other care sectors. 

She said: “We need a culture of support, of openness and transparency where staff feel free to speak out, to challenge incidents of poor care and take immediate action to put things right.

“We also need to do more to ensure that we have the right teams of staff with the right skills to deliver the best possible care for each specific situation. I sponsored the National Quality Board to develop staffing guidance for providers and commissioners, which was published last week. The guidance puts a renewed focus on the responsibility that healthcare providers have in taking an evidence-based approach to staffing.”