Department of Health and Social Care
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Future of Nursing and Midwifery - Commission of experts to improve quality of patient care
A new Commission of experts to advise the Government on the future role of nurses and midwives will be announced by the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Health Secretary Alan Johnson today (10 March 2009).
The Prime Minister's Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery will build on the existing work identified in Lord Darzi's report High Quality Care for All and consider how nurses can further improve safety, champion high quality patient care and give nurses and midwives more freedom to manage, commission and run their own services. All branches of nursing and midwifery will be considered including health visitors, mental health and learning disability nurses and paediatric nurses.
These leading experts in the field of nursing will:
* identify the skills and support that frontline nurses and
midwives need to take a central role in delivering 21st century
health services for patients;
* consider how to build on these expanding roles, including giving nurses and midwives more freedom to manage and run their own services; and
* work together with the profession, patients and the public to advise on how nurses can contribute to the implementation of Lord Darzi's vision to improve the safety and quality of patient care.
Health Secretary Alan Johnson said:
"As society has changed, so has healthcare. This is particularly true of the traditional roles of nurses and midwives. Nurses now have more powers to make real, tangible improvements on wards, in GP centres and in the community. They have taken on far greater responsibility in clinical care, developing their skills as leaders and managers.
"With the focus for the NHS centred on quality, now is a good time to consider how we build on these expanding roles. The Commission will bring a wealth of personal experience to bear in order to ensure that we can enable nurses to deliver a world-class services in every aspect of the NHS."
Health Minister and Chair of the Commission Ann Keen said:
"As a nurse, I know that our nurses and midwives are at the heart of our NHS, championing the cause of patients and providing dignity, care and compassion, as well as promoting health and well being.
"We have made huge strides in the profession and now have nurse consultants, midwife-led units and community matrons. Now is the time to bring these advances and challenges together, to help support our nurses to be free to nurse, create opportunities for them to lead change and give them the authority to deliver high quality care for patients."
Dr. Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said:
"Nurses and health care assistants have been central to the vast improvements in the NHS over recent years and the existence of this Commission is recognition of just that. This is the group of health professionals that spends more time with patients than any other, therefore nurses know what's needed to deliver high quality patient care.
"Lord Darzi's Review has laid a blueprint for radically improving patient care and this Commission will outline many of the next steps that the NHS needs to take. We look forward to working with the Government to shape that plan for a 21st century health service."
Welcoming the Commission, Karen Jennings, UNISON Head of Health, said:
"The patient remains at the heart of nurses' and midwives' work, but the way they do their jobs, and the responsibilities they bear, have changed dramatically over the last few years.
"We need the nursing and midwifery family armed with the skills and knowledge to tackle the challenges of the future. Who better to ask than the people doing the job for better ways to deliver advanced nursing practice? The Commission will provide a much needed way of harvesting the wealth of ideas and experience that these nursing experts bring to the profession."
The Commission will consult with the profession, patients and the public over the coming months in a series of events to take place around the country.
They will report to the Prime Minister by March 2010.
Notes to Editors
1. The Members of the Commission are:
Chair - Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for
Christine Beasley, Chief Nursing Officer, Department of Health
Anne-Marie Rafferty, Dean/Head of the Florence Nightingale School for Nursing and Midwifery, King's College London
Tamar Thompson, NHS Institute
Heather Lawrence, CE Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Judith Griffin, CE Blackburn with Darwen PCT
Peter Carter, General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing
Cathy Warwick, General Secretary, Royal College of Midwives
Gail Adams, Head of Nursing, Unison
Jo Pritchard, Surrey Health
Donna Kinnair, Director of Nursing, Southwark PCT
Janice Sigsworth, Director of Nursing , Imperial College London Hospitals NHS
Jane Salvage, visiting professor, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College London
Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
Prof Jim Buchan, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Clare Rayner, President of the Patient's Association
Baroness Audrey Emerton, House of Lords
2. The Commission stems from the Prime Minister's commitment to a new professionalism in the public service workforce - raising standards to the next level through higher quality and more responsive services, led by frontline staff. This was set out by the Prime Minister in June last year in 'Excellence and fairness: Achieving world class public services'.
3. The Commission also builds on work lead by the Chief Nursing Officer and reported in 'Nurses in Society: starting the debate' and 'State of the art metrics for nursing: a rapid appraisal'.
4. For media enquiries please contact the Department of Health Media Centre on 020 7210 5221.