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Specialist 'elderly care' nurses called for in Mid Staffs report

Inadequate staffing levels, lack of effective leadership and a lack of skills have been blamed for the “unacceptable” level of care at Mid Staffordshire hospital. 

Nurses for the elderly “deserve” specialist registered status, the report from Robert Francis QC said. 

George Coxon. Mental Health Nursing Association (MHNA) chair agreed, adding that the “advanced skills and knowledge” would be “essential”. 

The Nursing in Practice board member said: "There is little doubt that there is a need for advanced knowledge of how to care for older people, and that this is crucial to ensure quality care. 

“It is really important that we quickly make frailty into something we need to tackle,” he said, adding that “too many older people” die in hospital. 

Francis' 1,781 page report also said nursing students should have a “minimum period of work experience” to ensure they are “committed”.

A spokesman from the Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI), said: “Work experience is a vital part of nurse education. 

“It's only through working with patients that someone can really demonstrate they have all the qualities to be an excellent nurse."

One of the 290 recommendations in Francis' report was that healthcare assistants should be subject to Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) regulation. 

It said: “Our conclusion is that the balance of evidence is strongly in favour is at least a compulsory registration scheme, and the imposition of common standards of training and a code of conduct.” 

Professional development for nurses should also be reinforced by a system of “revalidation”, the report said. 

The nursing regulator has announced it is “committed to implementing” the recommendations. 

However, the NMC spokesman said: "This is a major undertaking and we have a substantial programme of work to complete before we will be in a position to launch revalidation.”

The NMC have said they will not have a revalidation system in place before the end of 2015.