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Nurses and midwives to take centre stage in delivering healthcare

A vision that will allow nurses and midwives to transform the quality of care was set out today by the Prime Minister's Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery.

Its ultimate goal is that all nursing and midwifery staff fulfil their potential to help people who use NHS services, families and communities achieve the best possible health and well being.

It also sets out that in the future nurses and midwives will take centre stage in all aspects of health care and that nursing and midwifery practice will be rooted in compassion.

The initial vision has been agreed by the Commission following an extensive engagement exercise over the summer, which sought the views of professions and the public around the country on what they see as the future role for nurses and midwives.

Separate to the vision statement the Commission has identified ten hot topics through responses to the first engagement phase and their own deliberations, which they want further debate on. Included within the hot topics for discussion are the need to address the confusion over roles and title of nurses and midwives and the role of nurses and midwives in putting service users in charge of their own care.

Health Minister and Commission Chair Ann Keen said:

"In our vision nurses and midwives are ordinary people who do extraordinary things – there is so much untapped potential waiting to be unleashed. The Prime Minister has said he wants to see nurses and midwives in control and at the heart of the team leading on quality and safety.

"The majority of nurses and midwives already do a fantastic job working with people who use NHS service, families and communities to care for the sick, promote health and wellbeing, prevent illness and relieve suffering. Yet they could be even more effective. In our vision, they are ordinary people who do extraordinary things - all their untapped potential will be unleashed.

"We have had an overwhelming response to the first stage of our crucial work in shaping the future of nursing and midwifery and received over 2,500 individual and organisational responses reflecting the views of many thousands of people.

"The Commission has reflected on these responses and identified some hot topics that we want to hear more views on during the Autumn.  As a nurse, I believe these issues go to the very heart of shaping the future of our profession and I look forward to hearing detailed suggestions on how we can tackle them which will help shape the detail of our report."

The Commission is now seeking to encourage further views, discussion and debate on their initial vision and ten 'hot topics' through a second phase of engagement ahead of publication of their final report in the New Year.

The second engagement phase will last two months and will include meetings with nurses and midwives, stakeholder meetings, public events and seeking views online through the Commission's website.

A final report will be produced by the Commission in early 2010 and presented to the Prime Minister and Health Secretary, Andy Burnham.

Department of Health