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Prioritising people in nursing care.


There has been in recent years concern that care in the NHS has not been sufficiently 'patient centred', or responsive to the needs of the patient on a case basis. It has been felt in care that it as been the patient who has had to adapt to the regime of care, rather than the other way around. Putting patients at the centre of care means being responsive to their needs and supporting them through the process of health care delivery.  Patients should not become identikit sausages in a production line.

The nurses body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council has responded to this challenge with a revised code of practice reflection get changes in health and social care since the previous code was published in 2008.

The Code describes the professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses and midwives. Four themes describe what nurses and midwives are expected to do:

prioritise people
practise effectively
preserve safety, and
promote professionalism and trust.

The revised Code  reflects the changes in health and social care since the previous code was issued in 2008 with new requirements on:

Fundamentals of care: This covers the essential aspects of caring for a patient, including making sure that a patient has adequate access to nutrition and hydration.

The duty of candour: Nurses and midwives should be open and honest with colleagues, patients and healthcare regulators when things go wrong.

Raising concerns: Nurses and midwives should raise concerns without delay if they are aware of a threat to patient safety or public protection.

Delegation and accountability: Nurses and midwives should make sure that they delegate tasks and duties appropriately and those they delegate to complete tasks to the required standard.

The professional duty to take action in an emergency: Nurses and midwives should take action in an emergency when off-duty, within the limits of their competence.

Social media use: Nurses and midwives should use social media responsibly, in line with our guidance.

The Code also makes clear that responsibility for those receiving care lies not only with the nurse or midwife providing hands-on care, but also with those nurses and midwives working in policy, education and management roles.

This new code is to be welcomed.

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