‘My family will always be grateful…’
These are the first words I saw when looking at Patient Opinion and reflecting on how people are experiencing our services. They are words that are often reflected in how people think of the care they receive from nurses and midwives across the country, and as we move forwards into a new year, words that should ring in our ears and encourage us to be even better than we are just now.
Every nurse and midwife wants to do the very best for their patients and the people they serve; at times it feels as though practitioners can’t do that for a variety of reasons. Too busy, too many patients, not the right clinical skills or services available…
So how then can we lift our heads and make sure excellent care is delivered to the people of Scotland reliably, and every time? And how then can we support practitioners to contribute to improving health – either with individuals or communities. How can we create the conditions for nurses and midwives to flourish and for them to believe that they can at all times do the very best for their patients and their loved ones.
At times we can be so busy in the here and now, it can seem impossible to take time to plan a new future, but if we are to continue to service the people of Scotland, we do need to be able to lift our heads and think through how to respond and prepare for the future.
The creation of Health & Social Care Partnerships, whilst maybe formalising what was already happening for some, saw one of the biggest changes to the delivery and decision making system within health for generations.
Our regulator, the NMC, is reviewing the education standards for nurses (almost ready to come out for consultation), for midwives (just about to start) and supervision of midwives will be removed from statute
Wider UK/English health policy on immigration, as well as the creation of the Nursing Associate in England may well have implications as to how nurses and midwives work within Scotland.
Closer to home, this year saw the publication of the National Clinical Strategy and just last week the health and social care delivery plan was published. Each of these outlining the transformation that is needed to respond to the needs of the population and to support care to be delivered closer to home.
I was also delighted to launch the consultation of the creation of a nursing vision which would take the profession into the future and support nurses to be prepared to deliver care within partnerships and also from our hospitals where services that require more specialisation will be developed.
So what will next year bring?
Building on the actions that we’ve taken I am keen to see further work on Excellence in going forwards, which is a care assurance system the Cabinet Secretary asked to be developed in response to the Vale of Leven Inquiry, as well as the first steps to support the government’s intention to introduce safe staffing into legislation.
I’m looking forwards to the launch of the Mental Health Strategy as well as the Maternity and Neonatal Strategy and am confident that nurses and midwives will play a central role in the transformation of all of our services and continue to play our part in improving the nation’s health.
Our national health service is rightly, a national treasure, we have a real role in helping develop and deliver services that create a sustainable future. For that to happen we may have to let go some of what is familiar and comforting to us. Much of that will be striving to deliver excellence in care; some of it will be working to create a new future.
I’m confident the profession will be part of the new paradigm that is being created, and look forwards to stepping into our future.
This week’s blog was by @fionacmcqueen (Professor Fiona McQueen), Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland, Scottish Government.