Medacs Healthcare

AUG 31/2012

Healthcare staff reminded of professional values

The General Medical Council (GMC) and the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) have issued a joint statement reminding healthcare staff of their professional values.

While the councils are confident that the majority of people in doctors', nursing and midwife jobs maintain the highest standards and deliver high-quality and safe patient care, a number of cases of neglect have been reported in recent months.

They said: "While these undoubtedly represent a small minority of patient encounters, they demonstrate the need for a constant commitment to quality and patient safety from all health professionals, and a willingness to uphold high standards and to raise concerns and challenge those responsible for poor practice."

In their statement, the GMC and NMC highlight a number of factors that are required to ensure high-quality and safe patient care, in addition to the clinical skill of those administering that care.

These include teamwork, communication, leadership and an open culture where workers feel able to discuss any experiences and concerns with their peers, superiors and healthcare managers.

In addition, empathy and humanity are "central" to good nursing, midwifery and medicine, the organisations state.

"The good nurse and midwife and the good doctor consider the needs of each patient as an individual and make sure that patients' dignity is maintained throughout their treatment and care," they say.

"This includes their needs for food and drink and help to eat and drink, for personal care, and for relief from pain and other distressing symptoms."

According to the GMC and NMC, doctors, nurses and midwives must remember their shared professional values, which include making the care of people their first concern and treating people as individuals.

In addition, doctors, nurses and midwives all agree to act without delay if they believe they or a colleague - or the caring environment - are putting someone at risk.

They should be kind and considerate to patients, carers and their families, as well as listening to patients' concerns.

Teamwork is also important to providing patient-centred care, with a culture based on openness and learning from mistakes being "fundamental".

Along these lines, healthcare workers should be honest with patients if something goes wrong.

The statement concludes by saying that while the challenges facing those in doctors' and nursing jobs have changed over time, the human values have remained the same, "and those values underpin the trust which lies at the heart of the doctor - patient, nurse - patient relationship".

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