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NHS England report calls on nurses, midwives and care staff to lead change in the NHS

The chief nursing officer for England has launched a new framework outlining how nursing, midwifery and care staff can take charge to deliver better outcomes for patients.

In answer to the Five Year Forward View published in 2014, the new report, Leading Change, Adding Value, shows how nursing, midwifery and care staff can help close three gaps that were identified in the NHS at the time.

According to the report, the health and wellbeing gap, the care and quality gap, and the funding and efficiency gap can be closed by focusing on needless variation in healthcare outcomes, patient experience and the unjustifiable use of resources.

The report encourages nursing, midwifery and care staff to identify where and why this variation occurs in any environment and at any level.

To assist them, the report outlines 10 central commitments, including increasing the visibility of nursing and midwifery leadership and their input in prevention.

The report also calls for a culture where improving the population's health is a core component of the practice of all nursing, midwifery and care staff.

In praise of the work of registered nurses and midwives, the report says: “We need to demonstrate that appropriate registered nurse staffing levels are associated with lower rates of serious incidents, including medication errors, falls, poor nutrition and hydration and failure to rescue.”

Professor Jane Cummings, the chief nursing officer for England, said:“The role that nursing, midwifery and care staff play should not be underestimated - we are on hospital wards caring for people, out in the community, care homes, academia, sitting on Boards, developing policy, and in the private sector.

“The framework - which can be used across all the sectors, whatever the setting - will support staff to demonstrate how they can use their expertise to drive change.

“The leadership potential in our workforce to manage the challenges of today and shape the future is boundless. From addressing differences in the incidence of pressure ulcers, to changing pathways of care and support in diagnosing diabetes - nursing, midwifery and care staff are ideally placed to be leading that change and demonstrating their value.”

The framework also encourages staff to record and evidence their work to ensure lessons can be shared across the NHS.

With the use of case studies, the report highlights nursing, midwifery and care staff who are already incorporating this framework successfully in both large and small organisations.