national care standards: nurse agencies

National Care Standards - Nurse Agencies Edition

3-5 Using the service (standards 3 to 5)

3 Service arrangements
4 Management and staffing arrangements
5 Concerns, comments and complaints

Using the service - standards 3 to 5

These standards reflect the way in which you can be assured that the nurse agency is acting in line with the service agreement and in the best interests of the person receiving the service.

The standards relating to service arrangements make it clear that you can expect to be fully consulted about the service provided.

The standards relating to management and staffing arrangements set out what you can expect of the nurses who are employed by the nurse agency, and their competence to work in a particular area and to provide a consistent standard of care.

The standards relating to expressing your views are very important to your experience of the service provided by the nurse agency and the way in which you feel you can influence and contribute to how services are delivered. If you are an individual who has bought services from the nurse agency, you can expect the nurse agency to support you if you want to express your views through an independent representative.

Service arrangements

Standard 3
You are provided with a nurse or nurses who are most suitable to meet your needs.

1 You are fully consulted to make sure that the most suitable nurse is placed for each assignment.

2 You can ask for a review of your service agreement with the nurse agency at any time.

3 You know that the nurse agency will communicate fully and effectively with you to get full details of needs. The nurse agency will tell your nurse about these needs.

4 You are confident that the nurse agency will regularly check with you to make sure that the service agreement is still suitable and that any agreed changes are made.

5 Where possible, and if you and the agency agree, the nurse agency will make sure that you are supplied with the same nurse or nurses.

6 You and the nurse are confident that the quality of the placement will be monitored satisfactorily.

7 You know that the nurse agency keeps accurate records of the needs of the person receiving the service, including:

  • when they need the service, where it will be provided and how long it will be provided for;
  • the type of nurse they need, for example, their qualifications, skills and experience; and
  • written evidence that nurses have been made aware of these needs.

8 You know that the nurse agency keeps accurate records showing:

  • that the service agreement reviews have taken place, within agreed timescales, and the outcomes of these reviews; and
  • that you have been consulted on:
  • how suitable the nurse or nurses are; and
  • if the same nurse or nurses will provide care for the person receiving the service.

If not, reasons should be recorded.

9 You are confident that the nurse agency uses an audit system to check regularly with you and the nurse to make sure that the quality of the placement is satisfactory. The outcome of the audit will be recorded, including any action that needs to be taken to put things right.

Management and staffing arrangements

Standard 4
The service provides a consistent standard of care, delivered by nurses who are competent to work in the service area.

1 You know that the nurse agency will communicate effectively with you to work out what tasks need to be done.

2 You are confident that the nurse agency will carry out a detailed assessment of the service required.

3 You know that the member of staff in the nurse agency who is responsible for placing nurses will be a registered nurse. He or she will have a knowledge of the environment that the person receiving the service lives in.

4 You are confident that the nurse agency places nurses who:

  • have the skills, experience and ability that are appropriate to the environment of the service and the people who are receiving it;
  • are registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council ( NMC) and work within the NMC Code of Professional Conduct;
  • respect the service and the person who is receiving it;
  • are dressed appropriately for the task and environment in which they are working; and
  • are aware of any cultural, or other sensitivities that affect the person receiving the service.

5 You know that the nurse agency has written policies, procedures and guidance in place to help relationships between you, the person receiving the service, the nurse providing the service and the agency.

6 You know that the nurse agency keeps accurate records of the specific qualifications, skills and experience of individual nurses, and details of all the tasks they have done.

7 You are confident that the nurse agency keeps up-to-date records of the continuing professional development required by the NMC of each nurse. It has policies, procedures and systems in place to assess and monitor the nurses' performance.

8 You know that the nurse agency has policies and procedures which cover all legal requirements, including:

  • staffing and training;
  • health and safety;
  • 'whistle-blowing'; and
  • proper record-keeping, including recording accidents, incidents and complaints.

9 The nurse agency's staff and managers are all recruited and selected through a process which includes:

  • criminal records checks;
  • taking up references; and
  • cross-reference to the registers of the NMC, Scottish Social Services Council or other professional organisations, where appropriate.

10 You can ask for, and be given, confirmation from the nurse that he or she is being provided by the nurse agency.

Concerns, comments and complaints

Standard 5
You can raise any concerns about the quality of the service and these will be dealt with.

1 You enjoy clear and open communication with the nurse agency and know that it will deal with your comments, suggestions or complaints properly and speedily and tell you the outcome.

2 You know that the nurse agency has a written policy and procedure in place for comments, suggestions and complaints which is easily available and understandable, and keeps accurate records of all the comments, suggestions and complaints it receives.

If you are paying for the nurse agency directly

3 If you have an independent representative (for example, a citizen advocate), you know that the nurse agency will listen to what she or he has to say on your behalf as if the views expressed were your own.

4 The nurse agency will explore on your behalf opportunities for you to have an independent representative and will try to help this relationship develop to your advantage.

Back to top