Improving and Assuring Nursing Care

Scotland’s NHS is to roll out innovative ways for nurses to review patient care across hospital wards – checking that high standards are met and encouraging continuous improvements.

The quality assurance processes will cover nursing and midwifery within all hospitals and community services, from A&E to mental health, care of older people to children’s services.

The roll out builds on work pioneered through the Scottish Government’s quality strategy, to support senior charge nurses to be clinical leaders and guardians of safety and quality, and Scotland’s unique patient safety programme.

Today Health Secretary Alex Neil visited NHS Forth Valley to hear about measures already in place to ensure high quality nursing care. He saw the assurance systems nurses are using to improve care, such as visual dashboards. The dashboard gathers improvement and performance data which informs interventions to further enhance the quality and safety of patient care.

The Health Secretary has tasked all health boards to implement a quality assurance process for nursing care that suits their services. The Scottish Government’s Chief Nursing Officer will work with local Nursing Directors to bring this forward as soon as possible.

Mr Neil said:

“By increasing the health budget, this Government is protecting our promise that the NHS will always be there for the Scottish people when they need it.

“The changes already delivered through the world-leading Scottish Patient Safety Programme means that our NHS is now safer than ever before.

“Not only does the NHS now have record levels of nurses but we also have the essential building blocks in place to ensure quality and care are at the heart of everything nurses do.

“We have already developed clear standards and continue to support strong clinical leadership for Scotland’s nurses. We will build on that by continuing to recruit the best people, using our ground breaking workload planning tools to get right staff in the right place and giving every nurse the support and training they need.

“Every patient should be assured that delivering the highest quality of care is NHS Scotland’s top priority. That is why this Government is committed to giving our NHS all the tools it needs to provide safe, effective and person centred care to every patient, every time.

“NHS Scotland is an institute built on transparency and honesty. Rolling out a quality assurance will another way for NHS Scotland to monitor its own performance and drive quality improvement efforts.

“Today I was able to hear about the approach NHS Forth Valley has taken to achieve this. The dashboard – which is just one type of quality assurance tool – is already enhancing services in Forth Valley. It is motivating the team at Forth Valley Royal Hospital to strive for excellence in care by being more open and flexible in their approach.”

Professor Angela Wallace, Director of Nursing NHS Forth Valley said:

“Nurses in Forth Valley have been at the forefront of developing and implementing this important system which provides accurate and up-to-date information on a number of key quality and safety measures. It helps us to monitor our performance on a day-to-day basis and supports a wide range of work to improve the care and experience of patients within our hospitals.”