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‘Make nurses agents for change’ says NHS England medical director

Nurses should become ‘agents for change’ in the NHS, according to the outgoing medical director for NHS England Sir Bruce Keogh.
Sir Bruce Keogh

Nurses should be used as agents for change in the NHS, says the outgoing medical director for England, Sir Bruce Keogh.

Sir Bruce says nurses are ideally placed to observe and pass on best practice at ward level, whereas doctors are best placed to do the same at hospital level.

Innovative

Nurses move from ward to ward, doctors move from hospital to hospital, Sir Bruce told the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester in a keynote speech on Tuesday.

They know where the good things are and they know where the bad things are. Why dont we use them as agents for change?

We should be using these young people, they are creative and they are innovative.

The event was

Nurses should be used as ‘agents for change’ in the NHS, says the outgoing medical director for England, Sir Bruce Keogh.


Sir Bruce outlined ten ‘tensions’ in the NHS that he believes his successor should address. Picture: Tim George

Sir Bruce says nurses are ideally placed to observe and pass on best practice at ward level, whereas doctors are best placed to do the same at hospital level.

Innovative

‘Nurses move from ward to ward, doctors move from hospital to hospital,’ Sir Bruce told the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester in a keynote speech on Tuesday.

‘They know where the good things are and they know where the bad things are. Why don’t we use them as agents for change?

‘We should be using these young people, they are creative and they are innovative.’

The event was one of the last the cardiac surgeon will appear at as medical director for England, after announcing in April that he will step down from the role in December after ten years. He will take up the role of chair of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

‘Tensions’

During his speech, Sir Bruce outlined the ten ‘tensions’ that he believes exist in the NHS and will need to be tackled by his successor.

Top of the list was Brexit, and he admitted concerns at the ‘uncertainty’ for research, innovation and the health workforce caused by the vote to leave the European Union.

He also noted questions regarding whether the NHS should be investing more in disease prevention or in curing disease, and the ‘unfinished’ debate about whether the NHS is a drain on taxpayers or a contributor to the economy.

Looking to the future of the NHS, Sir Bruce hailed the advances of digital technology and claimed he was most keen to see greater numbers of patients able to book appointments and receive test results online.


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