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Six Cs galvanise new NHS to do better for patients 

Commenting on the launch of the Chief Nursing Officer's new three-year vision and strategy, NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar said it forms part of an attempt to galvanise the whole of the new NHS system to do better for patients.
Nurse walking with elderly patient 

Compassion in Practice, the Chief Nursing Officer's (CNO) vision and strategy for building a culture of compassionate care, is based around six values;

  • care
  • compassion
  • courage
  • communication
  • competence
  • commitment.

It aims to embed these values – the Six Cs – in all nursing, midwifery and care-giving settings throughout the NHS and social care, to improve care for patients.

Actions include:

  • recruiting, appraising and training staff according to values as well as technical skill
  • regularly reviewing organisational culture and evidence for staffing levels
  • doing more to assess patients’ experience
  • helping staff make every contact count for improving health and wellbeing.

Challenge to health service

Commenting on the strategy, Mike Farrar said: “The CNO has laid down a challenge to the health service, and we should be bold in accepting it and delivering it.

“This is part of an attempt to galvanise the whole of the new NHS system to do better for our patients.

Compassionate culture

"We know that many organisations are doing great work to make sure their care meets the standards patients rightly expect and deserve. But we have not cracked the nut. We continue to hear too many stories of patients being let down at the very moment they need care and compassion.

“We need to reassure the public that we are working hard to build a compassionate culture right throughout the health service."

Everyone's responsibility

Mr Farrar continued: “Nursing professionals play a key role in making this happen, but it goes wider than this. Care and compassion is everyone's responsibility. Every member of NHS staff – from the ward to the board – should be satisfied that the care aspects of the treatment they provide are as high as the medical aspects.

Frank and honest feedback

“NHS organisations should have no problem with being held accountable for the care they provide and the support they give to staff to do the job well. It is absolutely right that we hold a mirror up to the culture and standards of our organisations, and encourage frank and honest feedback from staff and patients and their families and carers."


He added: “We are really pleased to see many of the recommendations put forward in our joint Dignity Commission report have been included in this strategy. It is especially encouraging to see the focus on recruiting for values as well as skill.

“We will continue to bring together leaders in the health and care home sector through our joint Dignity Commission to learn from good care as well as bad, and help put in place many of the recommendations of the CNO’s strategy."

Find out more

Dignity report cover

Find out more about the strategy on the Department of Health's website.

Read about the work of the Commission on improving dignity in care and download their report

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