Health minister Ann Keen has pledged her support to the Productive Ward programme, which is designed to help ward nurses release more timefor direct patient care.

The programme helps ward staff analyse their own systems and processes to identify wasted activity and organisational blocks, make appropriate changes to the physical ward environment and create sustainable change in how they work – with the aim of spending more time on the direct care of patients.

Speaking last week at the launch, Ms Keen said she wanted to see adoption of the self-help process across the NHS and she urged nurses to “let me know” if anybody tried to stop them progressing with Productive Ward.

The programme was developed by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement and trusts that have used it have seen time spent on direct patient care increase from 25 per cent to 46 per cent, and time spent on drug rounds cut by 63 per cent and time spent on patient handovers cut by one-third, all at the same time as increasing quality.

Ms Keen said: “The management of any organisation with patients not looking at this are not looking at best practice.”

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