Date Published: 18 August 2005

UK Health: New standards for better care of people with long-term health conditions

Health News from the United Kingdom (UK).

According to Chief Nursing Officer Chris Beasley, speaking yesterday, 17th August 2005, innovation and new skills will play a key role in the on-going drive of the UK National Health Service (NHS) to improve the health of millions of people across the country who suffer with long-term health conditions.

The Chief Nursing Officer was speaking at the launch a new document which sets out a framework of national standards for NHS' community matrons.

The new framework details the skills that community matrons will need to work effectively and highlights the different competences required from other case-managers. This will help NHS organisations to establish the skills base essential to delivering a world-class system of long-term conditions care. It will also enable managers to better monitor the quality of care being delivered to those patients with the most complex conditions and most pressing needs.

Chief Nursing Officer Chris Beasley said:

"We are committed to building on the skills that nurses and case managers already have. This document describes the competencies that underpin different types of case management . It will provide an invaluable resource for the professionals working in this field, helping them to raise standards for a very vulnerable group of patients. The framework will be particularly useful in the development of the community matron role.
_ This document is the result of an excellent partnership between Skills for Health and the NHS' Modernisation Agency. It is a good example of how the Skills for Health competences can be used to develop the workforce, by recognising existing skills and building on them through professional development

National Clinical Director Professor David Colin-Thome said:

"The majority of people in this country with long-term conditions receive good quality care from the NHS, but we know that there are many with complex conditions whose care is often sporadic and uncoordinated. Without proper management such patients often end up in hospital. These new standards will help community matrons and case managers deliver the coordinated approach needed to keep patients healthy, reduce unnecessary emergency admissions and enable patients who need to be admitted to hospital to return home more quickly."

The competences contained in the new document received a positive reaction from staff during consultation with NHS. All are fully integrated with Agenda for Change.

Earlier this year, the Department of Health announced a major overhaul in the way health and social care services will deliver care to the millions of people in England with long-term conditions. Long-term conditions are those conditions that cannot, at present, be cured, but can be controlled by medication and other therapies. They include diabetes, asthma, and arthritis.

The new changes are designed to improve the health and quality of life of those with long-term conditions, prevent premature death, and reduce the number of times they have emergency visits to hospital.

Note: This news item is from a Press Release by a branch of the UK government, who have an interest in positive public perception of the standards and efficiency of the NHS. Other interest groups may have different perspectives.

Source(s): UK Department of Health

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