Nurses and midwives to get more time for patients

Published on Monday, 08 October 2012 09:44
Posted by Scott Buckler

The Prime Minister and Health Secretary today set out plans to invest £140 million so that NHS nurses and midwives can spend more time with patients, not paperwork, and provide safer care

£100 million will be offered to the NHS for nurses and midwives to spend on new technology that will free up time for patient care and help make essential patient details instantly available on the ward, at the bedside or in the community. Nurses and midwives, whether they work in a hospital, in the community or in another care setting, will decide what kit is best for their own workplace.

The new technology could include digital pens and other handheld mobile devices that allow staff to know the latest information about a patient's treatment whenever, wherever they are, and provide safer, quicker care. These technologies will enable a swifter, more comprehensive understanding of a patient's care and conditions. They will also reduce the time spent on form filling and bureaucracy, freeing up time for face-to-face patient care.

The NHS will be loaned cash to fund these new technologies for nurses and midwives, but will only be required to repay a percentage of the loan. However, those organisations that receive positive feedback from patients in the Friends and Family Test will not have to repay any of the loan.

The Prime Minister David Cameron said:

"Too often nurses have been met with a barrage of bureaucracy – the boxes have been ticked and the quotas have been met.

"My mission with the NHS is to change that. We need to focus relentlessly on improving the care people get, and we're taking some big, practical steps to achieve that.

"We're introducing one of the most simple tests that any caring organisation can have. We're asking staff and patients if they would be happy to recommend the hospital they're in to their friends and family. It's called the Friends and Family test, and the results show in a very human way how a hospital is performing: not just how their budget's looking; but how people feel about being there."

Earlier this week, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Physicians published fresh guidance urging the NHS to spend more time with patients and give ward rounds the priority they need - this new support will help to make that happen.

An additional £40 million will be made available for extra leadership training to skill up the next generation of nursing and midwifery leaders. Up to 1,000 nurses and midwives will get this training and support this year, rising to 10,000 over the next two years. This training will also be available to nurses and leaders working in the care sector.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

"Most nurses and midwives chose their profession because they wanted to spend time caring for patients, not filling out paperwork. New technology can make that happen. That's better for nurses and patients too, who will get swifter information and more face-to-face time with NHS staff.

"The importance of these issues was laid bare by doctors' and nursing leaders earlier this week. The Government's role is to listen to the NHS and support these leaders - that's what we're doing today."

Source: ©DH

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