As the Director of Nursing and Quality for NHS Leeds West CCG a vital part of my work involves seeking assurance from these services as to the quality of the care they are providing, including how they are ensuring patient safety. Each CCG will have an Executive Nurse such as myself with responsibility for this, who will often also be involved in negotiating and influencing a ‘system wide’ approach to reducing infections across their geographical patch.

As executive nurses we have both the clinical background and experience of caring for patients along with the proven managerial capability to give us the credibility to be guardians of patient safety – and patient experience as a whole - across the services our CCG commissions. We also have developed relationships with partners across the health system such as hospital consultants, public health specialists, and patient groups. Through these networks we are able to facilitate, influence and negotiate improvements in patient safety, including infection prevention.

These networks are critical. Though with infection prevention the headlines often focus on problems in hospitals, for it to be effective, care must be taken across the entire system. CCG executive nurses and the quality teams they head up work across the system to improve this in a number of ways. A key one of these is reinforcing hand hygiene messages - hands are the main pathway of germ transmission during health care. Other ways include:

  • Ensuring the right antibiotics are given consistently by GPs to reduce the risk of adverse events and antibiotic resistance as well as optimising patient outcomes.
  • Overseeing improvement in infection, prevention and control standards in care homes.
  • Working with partners to improve urinary catheter management in the patient’s home and other care settings to reduce the risk of healthcare associated infections.

These are just some of the ways that CCG executive nurses across the country work with partners across the system to promote and assure patient safety. Our work in this, and in other aspects of our role, is supported by the NHSCC Nurses Forum which gives us a place to come together, share best practice and also provides a collective voice for us on critical issues such as patient safety.

Like me, my colleagues on the Nurses Forum are committed to delivering the best for patient safety and quality of care - a vital issue for us, our CCGs and the health service as a whole.