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Nursing and midwifery priorities for Wales over the next five years

Chief nursing officer Jean White discusses the Welsh Government’s plans for the nursing and midwifery professions.
Priorities

Chief nursing officer Jean White discusses the Welsh Governments plans for the nursing and midwifery professions.

Picture: iStock

The strategic goal for nursing and midwifery in Wales is to realise the full potential of the nursing and midwifery professions to meet, in partnership with others, the changing health and well-being needs of the people living in Wales.

When UK governments set country-level goals, it is done in the context of the laws and devolved health and social care policies in that country.

For Wales, this means considering the programme of government as laid out in Taking Wales Forward , which sets out the commitments for the next five years; the

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Chief nursing officer Jean White discusses the Welsh Government’s plans for the nursing and midwifery professions.

Priorities
Picture: iStock

The strategic goal for nursing and midwifery in Wales is to realise the full potential of the nursing and midwifery professions to meet, in partnership with others, the changing health and well-being needs of the people living in Wales.

When UK governments set country-level goals, it is done in the context of the laws and devolved health and social care policies in that country.

For Wales, this means considering the programme of government as laid out in Taking Wales Forward, which sets out the commitments for the next five years; the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which is about improving the health, social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales; and the four 'prudent healthcare' principles, which form the bedrock of health policy in Wales. These principles are:

  • Achieve health and well-being with the public, patients and professionals as equal partners through co-production.
  • Care for those with the greatest health need first, making the most effective use of all skills and resources.
  • Do only what is needed, no more, no less, and do no harm.
  • Reduce inappropriate variation using evidence-based practices consistently and transparently.

As chief nursing officer for Wales, I wanted to understand the issues facing nurses and midwives so I spoke to representatives of the two professions and bodies such as Public Health Wales. The discussions helped clarify the contemporary challenges as well as the needs and expectations of the people in Wales. I discovered that, rather than a revised high-level nursing and midwifery strategy, the resounding preference was to have an agreed set of prioritised areas that will be led by the Department for Health, Social Services and Children during this term of the Welsh Government.

Eight priority work areas were agreed and published on the Welsh Government website in December 2016:

  • Professionalism.
  • Voice and leadership.
  • Workforce and education.
  • Informatics.
  • Research, development and innovation.
  • Promoting population health and well-being.
  • Quality and safety of care.
  • Promoting integration of care.

Although they are not set out in order of importance, the first of the actions described relates to the expected values that underpin nursing and midwifery practice in Wales: ‘Promote appropriate values within the nursing and midwifery professions that reflect care, compassion, kindness and person centeredness.’

Each priority area has specific actions that will help shape the role and function of nurses and midwives in Wales.

Some of the actions relate to national policy and legislative changes, such as the implementation and extension of the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016, refreshing the school nursing framework and introducing a new service model for school children with special needs. There is an emphasis on developing the professional career path, from initial education to advanced and consultant roles, promoting delivery of high-quality, safe care, and ensuring a strong professional voice is heard when shaping health services, for example in efforts to improve the integration of services to meet individual needs and deliver care closer to home.

What I hope comes through is the commitment to work with senior leaders to support nurses and midwives in their daily work to be the best they can be, and so they are supported to work with the people of Wales to achieve the best possible outcomes for health and well-being.


About the author

Jean_White

Jean White is chief nursing officer for Wales, Department for Health, Social Services and Children, Cardiff 

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