The Francis Report made a number of recommendations on the need for there to be a named clinician who is accountable for a patient’s care whilst they are in hospital. In addition the Secretary of State for Health in England has supported the concept of having an accountable consultant and nurse with their “name over the bed”.
Whilst recognising that individual organisations need to decide how best to communicate information about the responsible consultant/clinician to patients, the guidance recommends that patients should always be informed of the following:
- Throughout your stay in hospital there will be one person, usually a doctor, who has the overall responsibility for your care. This is to ensure that the care you receive, including arrangements for your discharge, are properly coordinated.
- This person, who is called the Responsible Consultant or Clinician, is who you should talk to about your overall treatment or about any concerns you have about your stay in hospital. S/he will be responsible for seeing that your concerns are addressed.
- You will be told who your Responsible Consultant or Clinician is and how to contact them. Even though you may not see them everyday, you will be told how to get in touch with them.
- You will also know the name of the nurse who is responsible for your care. This person will be your point of contact for any questions you have or information you want.
- Whilst the intention is that the Responsible Consultant/Clinician is the same person throughout your stay there may be some occasions when it is appropriate to transfer this responsibility to someone else. This could be because it is better for your care to be provided by a different team or simply that your Responsible Consultant is going to be away on leave. You will be informed of any change.
- Your Named Nurse will change as staff go on and off duty but you will be informed of this change and the information will be displayed.
- Where details of the Responsible Consultant/Clinician and Named Nurse can be be found.
The full guidance can be read here.