Government Must Act Now to Implement NHS Culture Change, Says University of Worcester Nursing Expert

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A nursing expert has called for greater urgency in hospital reform, echoing concerns raised by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt over patient care.

Mr Hunt has urged hospitals and the healthcare regulatory body, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), to be more 'open and transparent' following revelations over patient neglect.

Robert Dudley, Head of Nursing and Paramedic Science at the University of Worcester, said: “We welcome and support Mr Hunt's recognition that doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals should be the driving force behind developments, and the government is right to ask for greater transparency. However, it is acting far too slowly.”

Mr Dudley points out that The Francis Report, published 6 February, called for a culture change and a 'duty of candour', which would require hospitals to make their failings and mistakes public.

Changes now need to be implemented, Mr Dudley believes, and examples must be set by the regulatory body.

“If the CQC – the government's flagship regulator – is hiding mistakes, how on earth can we expect the hospitals to be open?” he asked.

Training for nurses at the University of Worcester is designed around the principle that patient care should be a central element of all degree programmes.

The University, which received a 100 per cent student satisfaction rating in last year’s National Student Survey, making it the top rated nursing degree in the UK, uses panels of nurse academics, patient representatives and clinicians to agree that every candidate for its nursing programmes has the potential to be a good nurse.

It also teaches students to accept personal responsibility for judging the care standards they witness when they spend time in hospitals, GP surgeries and treatment centres as part of their courses, and supports them if they raise concerns.