Excellence In Care - Scotland's National Apporach to Assuring Nursing and Midwifery Care Event Report

A report of Scotland's first assuring nursing and midwifery event.

Excellence in Care: Government View

Photo of Shona Robison, MSP
Shona Robison, MSP

A Time To Be Ambitious

Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport Shona Robison, MSP, addressed the event - this is an edited version of her speech.

Every patient and family should be assured that delivering the highest quality of care is NHS Scotland's top priority. That is why the government is committed to giving our NHS all the tools it needs to provide safe, effective and person-centred care, in line with our Quality Ambitions.

Much has been done at national and local levels to improve health care - and nursing and midwifery care - across Scotland. We have achieved a lot, but we know we can - and must - do more.

Although the vast majority of nursing and midwifery care provided is good or indeed excellent, we know that on occasions, standards can fall unacceptably short. Following the publication of the Vale of Leven Hospital Inquiry Report, I asked the Chief Nursing Officer to work with executive nurse directors to roll out robust quality assurance programmes for nursing and midwifery care and nationally agreed standards for documentation. The vision Professor McQueen and the nurse directors share is to develop and implement a world-class, evidence-based, national approach to assuring nursing and midwifery care. That is what Excellence in Care is all about.

A key challenge will be to standardise our approaches where appropriate and reduce the data burden on staff. This should not be seen as additional work, but rather as a means of better utilising the information already available in a more meaningful and effective way.

I am aware that a number of NHS boards have already started or are well underway on their own local journey. This event presented examples of systems in use throughout Scotland and further afield, and I have had the opportunity to hear about some of these first hand in recent weeks and months.

Another key part of the event was discussion on the principles that will underpin this national work. I'd like to add some of my own thoughts into the mix.

Key principles should be to:

  • focus on assuring what matters most to patients and families, not just what can be easily measured or assured.
  • embed staff and care experience at the core - we know that when staff are engaged and feel valued, standards of care tend to be better.
  • recognise the culture and conditions required to enable good-quality care - as well as looking at the point of care, we also need to consider predictors of good-quality care so we can recognise if wards or teams need support before a breakdown or failure occurs.

And approaches should be collaborative. We are not starting with a blank canvas in Scotland. We should continue to seek to build on existing strengths and learn from experiences to date.

This is an opportunity for us to work collaboratively to ensure that we have a robust and meaningful approach nationally. It is also an opportunity for nurses and midwives to be ambitious. I urge you not to settle for "good enough", but instead work towards developing a truly world-class approach.

I look forward to hearing about the outputs from the event as we move forward to the next stage of this important journey.


Email: Jan Liddle

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