PM: Nursing standards will improve
More funding for training and surveys of friends and family will help improve nursing standards this year, the Prime Minister has said.
David Cameron said the standard of care in the NHS would be a key priority for the Government in 2013.
The moves followed criticism of nursing by Labour MP Ann Clwyd who raised the poor care of her late husband in Prime Minister's Questions last year.
Mr Cameron said: "A year ago, I said the whole approach to caring in this country needed to be reset. Since then we have done a lot with more training and better support. And nurses are now checking on patients hour by hour in nine out of 10 hospitals. We still have a long way to go to raise standards across the NHS and get rid of those cases of poor and completely unacceptable care that blight some hospitals and homes. I want every hospital to give every patient the best possible care."
Friends and family tests and patient-led inspections will be in place in all hospitals from April, Mr Cameron said. A £13 million innovation fund will offer training and career development to health care assistants while a £50 million pot will be used to train all NHS and social care staff in care for dementia patients.
The Care Quality Commission is also to review induction training for care staff with new minimum standards being published within weeks. More nursing rounds will be implemented and improvements will be made to district nursing.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt added: "Most of our NHS does a brilliant job looking after patients - but it is still true that in many places quality of care is not valued as highly as quality of treatment. The new friends and family test will shine a light on standards of care throughout the system and help expose the shocking examples of poor care that have been coming to light much earlier."
Chief nursing officer Jane Cummings said: "Feedback from patients is crucial to getting this right. The friends-and-family will be a key measure, highlighting the demanding, high-quality work that NHS staff do day in and day out, by shining a light on excellent as well as poor care."
NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar said: "The NHS is totally committed to this agenda. We have got to ensure that a culture of compassion is running through the veins of every place that provides care - no ifs, no buts and no exceptions. We know we have a way to go and the NHS must fully embrace this challenge on behalf of the public. I have been talking to many NHS organisations that are showing real commitment and making significant strides in the right direction.
"It's good to see the prime minister personally getting behind this issue. And overall these plans add up to a sensible package with the new drive around the training of care assistants particularly welcome."