New nursing code: Patients asked to help shape draft

Nurse Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption People will have a chance to set out how nurses should work

Patients and the public are being urged to have their say over what standards nurses and midwives should abide by.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is drafting a new version of its code, which sets out standards of conduct, performance and ethics.

It will say patients should be treated with kindness, consideration and respect.

The NMC decided to revise the existing code partly because of events such as the scandal at Stafford Hospital.

There, patients were found to have died needlessly.

One of the criticisms made of the failings in care there was a lack of compassion from some nursing staff.

The Francis report made 290 recommendations to prevent "another Stafford" including a pilot for nurses to spend time working as support workers and healthcare assistants before taking their degrees.

The draft code covers areas such as care, communication, teamwork, professionalism and complaints handling.

The NMC regulates the UK's 670,000 nurses and midwives. Nurses have to be registered with the NMC to practise - and they have to abide by the code.

Patient needs

Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive, said: "The Nursing and Midwifery Council exists to protect the public, and the code is central in all that we do.

"It explains exactly what is expected of all nurses and midwives, no matter how and where they practise or what stage of their careers they are at.

"This is a chance to tell us what is important to you, and explain exactly what you expect from the people who care for you."

Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: "This is an important opportunity to help develop compassionate, high-quality nursing care for now and the future."

Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: "The NMC's Code of Conduct has been around for a long time and the standards and behaviours that it sets are taken extremely seriously by all nursing staff.

"Our members are skilled professionals dedicated to the care and support of their patients and committed to upholding the highest of standards.

"Modern nursing is a complex and demanding profession and so it is only right for the Code of Conduct to be revised in line with all the changes and developments that have taken place.

"Consulting a wide range of people from patients to the nurses themselves will help the NMC to develop a Code of Conduct in line with the reality of modern nursing and the RCN looks forward to participating in the process."

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: "It is vital that healthcare is centred around the needs of the patient.

"The NMC Code lays out the standards of conduct to which all nurses and midwives must adhere when treating their patients. It is therefore essential that patients themselves are genuinely and meaningfully involved at all stages in the planning, development and implementation of the code.

"We strongly encourage patients and the public to get involved with this important consultation process and help shape the future of healthcare provision in the UK."

The consultation can be viewed on the NMC website.

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