Schwartz rounds still going strong

Posted on in Staff, The trust

One of the first trusts to lead a programme which openly encourages staff to talk about their personal experiences of working in the NHS has welcomed today’s news that more organisations are signing up to take part.

Schwartz rounds – which involve staff from all backgrounds and professions voluntarily coming together to discuss the emotional and social challenges associated with their jobs – were one of the recommendations made in the Francis Inquiry into Mid Staffordshire.

Today, The Point of Care Foundation has revealed that 104 organisation are now running the programme, compared to 23 when it took over the responsibility for supporting them from The King’s Fund in April 2013.

Jocelyn Cornwell, chief executive of The Point of Care Foundation, said: “Two years after the publication of the Francis Inquiry, the positive uptake of Schwartz Rounds across the NHS and beyond shows organisations are embracing culture change.

“But while the ‘Francis effect’ is not dead, it is a difficult time for the NHS. There is a risk that the energy put into supporting staff to deliver excellent care in the wake of the Francis inquiry will slip.

“The challenge will be to keep supporting staff to deliver excellent patient care in the face of immense financial, capacity and organisational pressures. The Point of Care Foundation maintains that the NHS cannot deliver good care unless it provides good support to staff. Schwartz Rounds provide much needed support to healthcare staff.”

At South Tees, Schwartz rounds were introduced three years ago, and since then 21 rounds have taken place with topics ranging from ‘a patient I will never forget’ to ‘living on the edge – reflections of staff in the acute admissions unit.’

The sessions are expertly facilitated, confidential, meetings where staff from all backgrounds can talk openly. Their underlying premise is that the compassion shown by staff can make all the difference to a patient’s experience of care, but to provide care with compassion, staff must themselves feel supported in their work.

Amy Stabler, a service improvement lead at South Tees, said: ““Every day our staff are faced with emotionally challenging situations – it’s the nature of health care – but we’ve found the rounds have really given them an insight into each other’s experiences and created a very safe space where they can be open and honest with each other.”