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Health minister praises innovative nursing care

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter has visited Poole Hospital to learn more about the innovative and extended roles nurses are undertaking in caring for patients with a range of medical conditions.

Health minister's visit The nurse-led medical investigations unit (MIU) is one of only a handful in the UK led entirely by specially trained nurses.

Nurses on the unit became among the first in England, outside of hospital emergency departments, to prescribe blood and blood products as part of routine care last year – a service previously only provided by doctors.

The unit offers treatments for a range of conditions including multiple sclerosis, a range of cancers and haematological conditions, as well as neurological disorders and anaemia. Patients with diagnosed or undiagnosed conditions are assessed by nurses, who then make decisions about the clinical care needed, including prescribing medication.

Patients are greeted, treated and discharged by the same expert nurse to provide a seamless service. Many patients are now cared for as day cases, meaning an overnight stay in hospital is avoided. All the care is delivered in bright and spacious surroundings, and the unit has views over Poole bay, promoting calmness and relaxation.

During his visit, Dr Poulter praised the unit, saying it is an example that others could follow.

“What I've seen today is fantastic in terms of a patient-focussed approach,” said Dr Poulter. “The empathy and rapport between staff and patients is very good.
“The way patients can influence and give feedback is a very good model of how things should be, and is what we want to see elsewhere in the country.”

Bob Miller is a long term patient of the MIU, attending around every five weeks. Bob said: “I’ve seen this unit grow over the years, and it has become very valuable to me.

“The staff have been absolutely wonderful – they are very good here and I’d give the service 10 out of 10.”

The tour of the unit was led by matron Geoffrey Walker, alongside senior sister Shelley Pasamar and sister Joy Peeke.

“I’m incredibly proud that nursing staff here on MIU were able to talk through their extended roles face to face with the minister, who took a real interest in developments here,” said Geoffrey, recently named British Journal of Nursing’s national nurse of the year.

“We’re leading the way in providing nurses with the skills and techniques so that they can in turn deliver the very best care possible to our patients.”

Joy added: “Patients love the relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the MIU, and the ability to have their treatments as day patients when, in the past, they would have had to stay in hospital overnight.”

The health minister spent time talking with the MIU’s team of specialist nursing staff before moving on to the Rapid Access Consultant Evaluation unit, which is staffed by doctors, nurses and therapies’ professionals seven days a week to ensure elderly patients receive prompt and comprehensive care, reducing the time patients spend in hospital.

Hospital chairman Angela Schofield welcomed the opportunity to showcase some of Poole Hospital’s innovative practice.

“Our staff and patients recognise that there is really excellent work taking place in the hospital – our strong performance in the latest inpatient survey from the Care Quality Commission underlines this,” said Angela.

“It is really pleasing to be able to show a Government minister the kind of innovative practice taking place here – I’m confident our enthusiastic and committed staff left Dr Poulter with a very positive impression of the care we deliver to our patients.”

Date: 9 May 2013

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Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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