Forum for NHS staff to get together and talk to be expanded

Initiative sees doctors, nurses and other staff get together to discuss stresses or dilemmas they have faced while caring for patients

A scheme which encourages NHS staff to get together once a month to discuss the stresses of their jobs is to be rolled out across the health service, officials said.

Health minister Dan Poulter said that introducing the "Schwartz Centre Rounds" will help to foster a culture of compassionate care in hospitals.

The initiative sees doctors, nurses and other NHS staff get together to discuss stresses or dilemmas they have faced while caring for patients.

Experts say that the rounds, which are already popular in the US, have a "positive" impact on teamwork and the hospital culture.

Robert Francis QC's report into the serious care failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust also points out the positive impact of the rounds.

The Department of Health is providing a £650,000 grant so experts can roll the scheme out to 40 hospitals in England over the next two years.

The money will be used to develop a network of trainers who can help other organisations set up the initiative.

Experts will also pilot whether such a move would be beneficial in GP practices.

"Shocking failures of care - like Mid Staffs and Winterbourne View - demonstrate the need for more compassionate care right across hospitals and care homes," said Dr Poulter.

"As a doctor, I know how rewarding it is to care for patients, but that there isn't always the right culture that allows staff to share the challenges they have faced while caring for patients.

"Schwartz Centre Rounds have been shown to help hospital and care staff support each other and learn about how to deal better with tough situations, and spend more time focused on caring for patients in a compassionate way.

"That is something I want to see more of, and that is why we are expanding this programme."

PA

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