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Monthly meetings for NHS staff

Schwartz Center Rounds will allow NHS staff to reflect on the stresses and dilemmas of work

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Schwartz Center Rounds in which NHS staff get together once a month to reflect on the stresses and dilemmas that they have faced, are to be extended.

The positive impact of the scheme, which helps foster a culture of compassionate patient care, was highlighted by Robert Francis QC in his report on Mid Staffs.

Research pilot sites in the US and England show staff who attend Schwartz Center Rounds feel they communicate better with their patients and colleagues, feel less isolated and more supported, feel better able to cope with the emotional pressures of their work, and understand better how their colleagues think.

Monthly Schwartz Center Rounds are currently established in 15 NHS trusts. The Department of Health is giving almost £650,000 over the next two years to the Point of Care Foundation to expand the scheme.

By the end of the two years, around 40 additional trusts should have established Schwartz Center Rounds, and the Point of Care Foundation will also have developed a national network of trainers and mentors who will continue to spread Rounds to new organisations into the future. And for the first time ever, they will also be piloted with GP practices, district nurses and in the community.

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “Shocking failures of care – like Mid Staffs and Winterbourne View – demonstrate the need for more compassionate care right across hospitals and care homes. 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 Center 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.”

Jocelyn Cornwell, director of The Point of Care Foundation, said patients do not always have a good experience of healthcare and, often, this is because staff feel challenged or stressed by the high pressure environment in which they work.

“The Schwartz Center Rounds give staff an opportunity to discuss their working lives in a supportive and confidential environment. By regularly talking about their experiences, healthcare staff re-connect with the reasons they went into healthcare and develop a greater understanding of their colleagues. This fosters better teamwork and ultimately better care for patients,” she said.

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