Department of Health and Social Care
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£50m to double time Nurses spend on patient care

£50m to double time Nurses spend on patient care

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release issued by The Government News Network on 8 May 2008

National rollout of Productive Wards will slash unnecessary paperwork

Nurses could double the amount of time they spend on direct patient care and slash unnecessary paperwork thanks to £50m investment in a project to improve efficiency on wards, Health Secretary Alan Johnson announced today.

The Productive Ward programme, designed by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, empowers nurses to look at how their ward is organised and make changes that allow them to spend more time with patients. Often these are very simple ideas, such as altering patient handover time, reorganising storage facilities and making better use of data.

The programme has been piloted in four trusts and there are 10 learning partners, one in each SHA. A further two trusts are rolling the programme out across all of their wards. Evidence from the pilot sites shows the Productive Ward can:

- Double the amount of time nurses spend on patient care;
- Cut handover time by a third;
- Reduce medicine round time by 63 per cent;
- Cut meal wastage rates from 7 per cent to 1 per cent.

Around 80 percent of Trusts have already signed up to the Productive Ward programme. However, only two trusts are rolling it out across all their wards.

Alan Johnson said:

"When I visited Nottingham City Hospital last year, I was deeply impressed by their Productive Ward Pilot. By taking small but significant steps, nurses have freed up time to make enormous improvements to patient care.

"The programme works because nurses have total ownership. The power is in their hands to make changes. I want to work with the RCN and ward sisters to encourage more Trusts to put the principles of the Productive Ward programme into action across all their wards, increasing the time nurses spend with patients and enabling them to do the job they were trained for."

Dr. Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:

"More than anything, nurses wish to provide high quality care. The RCN is very pleased to say that the national rollout of the Productive Ward programme will help to do just that. Frontline staff work on wards, day in day out and are best placed to devise and implement the changes that will allow them to spend more time at the bedside caring for patients. The RCN would welcome further government moves to ensure that future changes to the delivery of healthcare are locally-led and clinically driven."

Thanks to record investment over the past 10 years, there are 80,000 more nurses working in the NHS. Their role has changed significantly in that time. With better training opportunities, nurses have greater responsibility and carry out more specialist work. As their roles change, the day-to-day organisation of wards must change to free up as much time as possible for nurses to spend on patient care.

Empowering staff to drive forward improvements in the health service on the frontline, rather than having change imposed on them from Whitehall, is a cornerstone of Lord Darzi's ongoing review of the NHS. The Productive Ward programme demonstrates the benefits of this approach to health reform - clinically driven and locally led.

Notes to editors:

1. The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement's Releasing Time to Care Productive Ward programme was officially launched on 25th January 2008 following a series of pilot programmes around the country.

2. The four original pilot sites were Basingstoke & North Hampshire NHS Foundation Trust, The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Trust. These were followed by two "whole hospital" sites at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Central Manchester & Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust.

3. 80 per cent of Trusts have already signed up to the Productive Ward programme. The £50m investment will allow Ward Sisters to take advantage of the Productive Ward tools so that every ward has the opportunity to think about how they can reduce unnecessary paperwork and increase the amount of time they spend on direct patient care.

4. We have asked SHA Directors of Nursing to report back to the Chief Nursing Officer by the end of October 2008, outlining where and how the money has been spent, as well as the benefits achieved.

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