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Wound care framework launched to tackle ‘variation in services’



A national framework has been published that outlines the knowledge and skills needed by all healthcare workers – and not just nurses – to deliver wound care.

The National Wound Care Core Capabilities Framework, launched this week, is the first multi-professional framework of its kind. It aims to ‘underpin the highest standard of wound care, so that anyone with a wound receives the treatment they need, no matter the setting or location’.

The framework hopes to tackle the variation in care quality found outside specialist and community services by providing a ‘single, consistent, and comprehensive foundation’ in the practice.

Baroness Watkins of Tavistock, chair of the National Wound Care Strategy Programme (NWCSP) Board, which launched the framework, explained that ‘although wound care is often perceived as primarily a nursing issue, all members of the team need to be able to recognise their role in wound management’.

She said of the 3.8m people living with a wound in the UK, many ‘suffer for long than is necessary’ because of ‘inadequate care’ and ‘unwarranted variation in wound care services, underuse of evidence-based practices and overuse of ineffective interventions’.

These ‘poor healing rates’ also ‘increase the demand on scarce resources’, she added, with the annual NHS cost of wound management said to be £8.3bn.

The framework was also developed by Skills for Health and Health Education England, working with stakeholders from across the sector.

The core capabilities within the framework are described in three tiers, depending on an individual’s scope of practice. A practitioner may move between these tiers depending on their role, setting or circumstances.

The document does not replace the need for guidance for care of single wound types, specific professors or levels of practice, but builds on them, it stressed.

The NWCSP was launched in September 2018 ‘to enable care that is organised and research-informed, to achieve improved healing rates, better experience of care, greater cost-effectiveness and prevent incidence and recurrence’.

Health Education England chief nurse Professor Mark Radford said: ‘Chronic wounds are a significant burden and can impact greatly on a person’s quality of life. It is crucial that every health and care practitioner has the knowledge and skills to provide people with wounds with the right care, wherever they are.’

QNI chief executive Dr Crystal Oldman said: ‘Embedded into community health services this framework has the potential to drive improvements in the way that wounds are managed and treated, promoting healing, and transforming quality of life.’

Jude Diggins, interim director of nursing, policy and public affairs at the RCN, said: ‘This framework is an opportunity to clarify roles and responsibilities in what can be a complex clinical situation. By defining the skills and knowledge required by members of the wider multi-disciplinary team, it will help drive up standards of wound care in all settings.’