Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Three compassion, please

“Three compassion, please.”  No, I haven’t taken leave of my senses, I’m just trying to think about the implications of the new three year vision and strategy, announced today by the Chief Nursing Officer

My mother has advanced Alzheimer's and is completely dependent on care. In fact without that care she is a risk to herself, others and even compassionate staff. So I fully applaud the call for putting compassion centre stage.
But I also see that the current system is totally dependent on a heavenly host of temporary 'bank workers'.  While it is may be considered comparatively easy to take steps during the recruitment, training and staff appraisal processes to embed the principles of the vision and strategy, has any thought been given to how this will be reflected in the procurement? Buying compassionate care is going to be a real challenge in an environment where bank staff are called in at short notice and low paid.

It will also be interesting to hear if any discussions have taken place with the key providers on how the principles will be embedded into existing contracts - I assume there isn't any extra budget available.
Another ingredient will be the number of nursing staff on wards. While I agree that there needs to be good visibility of nursing staff, it doesn't strike me that there is a surplus of staff on the floor. Extra staff,  assuming they are available, will increase cost while the NHS is trying to reduce budgets.
So there are some interesting discussions which need to take place:
  1. How will 'compassionate care' be reflected in new contracts for bank staff?
  2. How will existing contracts embrace the vision and strategy? 
  3. Have provider discussions started?
  4. Is there an available supply of additional bank staff?
  5. Is there additional money to cover the additional costs?
  6. Will all this come as a surprise to the Chancellor's Budget Statement? 

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