HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital has said it is implementing strategies to provide more “compassionate care” to patients.

England's chief nursing officer Jane Cummings told hospital staff across the country this month that she wanted them to embed values such as caring, communication and competence into their daily work routine as part of a national drive to improve nursing.

But Hinchingbrooke says it was well ahead of the trend and already implementing the "six Cs" identified by Ms Cummings - the others being compassion, commitment, and having the courage to speak out when things go wrong - in her three-year Compassion in Practice strategy.

At the centre of Hinchingbrooke's plan is a drive to increase the amount of contact nurses and doctors have with patients, said the hospital's deputy director of nursing Lorraine Szeremeta.

The privately-run hospital, which was taken over by the Circle Partnership in February, has increased nurses' contact with patients from an average of 50 per cent of their working time, to 66 per cent.

Some of the orthopaedic departments have achieved contact rates of 80 per cent and higher - but Mrs Szeremeta said more work needs to be done.

"Our plan would be to have contact rates of at least 75 per cent," she said. "Wards that have higher levels of patient contact are seeing some really positive feedback.

"Previously we had some feedback that nurses were not visible enough. It wasn't that they were not there, it is just that they were not always visible."

To tackle that, the hospital has encouraged staff to complete paperwork with their patients rather than in an office.

"It is about the patient, so it should be done with them," Mrs Szeremeta said, although it has the added benefit of increasing their time with the patient.

The hospital has also looked at whether equipment is stored in the most easily accessible places, to save time spent retrieving items, and encourages everyone to complete feedback forms when leaving the hospital.

"For me, everything we do is about the patient and putting the patient first," Mrs Szeremeta said.

"We started some time ago looking at compassionate care and started in February to look at what makes the best care.

"The thing that kept coming through was that patients want staff to be visible and show understanding."

Hinchingbrooke has also introduced a new hand-over system that fully involves the patient.