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Nurses and midwives share their vision for a better NHS

Over 600 nurses and midwives have responded to an NHS-wide initiative asking them to identify what changes to practice they have made that have had the most impact on patient care, quality and efficiency.

From these submissions, eight key action themes have emerged. These are: preventing falls, keeping patients nourished, promoting skin care, speeding up the discharge process, protection from infection, end of life choices, reducing sickness absence among nurses and midwives, and supporting natural birth.

High Impact Actions for Nursing and Midwifery is a joint initiative by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, Department of Health, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives and the Nursing and Midwifery Council led by the strategic health authorities.

Lynne Maher, interim director for innovation at the NHS Institute said: “The initiative aims to give nurses and midwives, who are at the forefront of patient care and are uniquely placed to know what works and what does not, the opportunity to show the significant contribution they make to improving patient care in an increasingly challenging financial climate.”

Chief Nursing Officer for England, Dame Christine Beasley, who will launch the themes at the Chief Nursing Officer's Conference on 12 November 2009, said: “Nurses and midwives across the country are clearly working in ways that drive up quality and make better use of NHS resources.

"However, this best practice is currently not always shared nor is it systematically adopted in every NHS organisation. By asking nurses and midwives to identify what innovations they believe have had the highest impact, we're giving NHS organisations everywhere quicker access to the tools they need to improve patient care.

“Every NHS nurse and midwife knows the importance of focusing on quality and safety improvements. What is harder for them is getting to grips with the financial challenges we are likely to see over the coming years.  The next stage of this work will be vital in terms of testing how to put these actions in place and the extent of savings they can deliver.”

NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement