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Compassionate patient care scheme to be expanded

The expansion of a scheme to help foster a culture of compassionate patient care has been announced by Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter.

The scheme, called Schwartz Center Rounds, allows NHS staff to get together monthly to talk about the stresses and dilemmas they have faced while caring for patients.

Stafford Hospital, Accident & Emergency Credit: PA

Robert Francis QC specifically pointed to the positive impact of Schwartz Center Rounds in his report, following the Stafford Hospital scandal, where hundreds of people were found to have died needlessly.

The Department of Health will give a grant of almost £650,000 over the next two years to the Point of Care Foundation to expand the scheme.

Monthly Schwartz Center Rounds are currently established in 15 NHS trusts. By the end of the two years of the grant, around 40 additional Trusts should have established Schwartz Center Rounds.

For the first time ever, they will also be piloted with GP practices, district nurses and in the community.

Dr Dan Poulter, Health Minister Credit: PA

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.”