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Quality and Safety Bulletin

All the latest in quality and safety with the RCN's Quality and Safety Bulletin. 

If you'd like to keep up to date with all the latest in quality and safety, you can subscribe to the Quality and Safety Bulletin. The Bulletin highlights the professional work of the RCN and features all the latest news on the following: quality improvement, patient safety, evidence-based practice, patient and staff-focused care and eHealth.

Research and safer staffing

Research proves we need safer staffing

Professor Anne Marie Rafferty, RCN President, has been involved in two decades of vital nursing workforce research. She explains how the evidence could help us achieve safe staffing.

The growing global evidence that Anne Marie and academic colleagues have gathered shows we need more nurses, with the right skills and support, if we want to reduce patient mortality and improve nurses’ wellbeing. 

The RCN has used this research to create the aims of its safe staffing campaign and tell all four UK governments what nurses and patients need now. We sat down with Anne Marie to find out more about her crucial work.

Read the article

RCN highlights

The latest news from the RCN on professional issues including publications, policy briefings, events and NICE consultations.


NHS Scotland nursing vacancies reach all-time high

The RCN has called on the Scottish government to take action now to address nursing workforce shortages in health and social care.


Voting opens for RCN Council elections

Voting has opened for the RCN Council elections. Members have until 30 September to return their ballot papers.

Quality improvement

Learn more about developments in quality improvement through content giving practice examples, describing tools, learning through innovation and case studies, commentary and statistics.

Age UK

More harm than good: why more isn't always better with older people's medicines

A report from Age UK has called for a more considered approach to prescribing medicines for the older population.


Pharmacies to offer heart checkups in new NHS England scheme

Heart checkups to prevent heart attacks and strokes are to be offered at high street pharmacies under new plans from NHS England.

Patient safety

Follow this theme to discover what patient safety means as a practice. We share learning from practitioners, and researchers and findings from the developing field of human factors in healthcare.


Lives at risk from surge in measles across Europe

Commentary from the Guardian has highlighted that the dramatic surge in measles across Europe is putting lives at risk.


Type and timing of menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer risk

Research published in the Lancet has confirmed that the risk of breast cancer is increased during use of all types of HRT.

Evidence based practice

This theme explores what it means to practise in line with best available evidence. It highlights evidence based practice guidelines, research and other tools and updates on evidence based techniques and processes from across the UK. International content from credible resources is also included.


Caesarean section

This guideline covers when to offer caesarean section, procedural aspects of the operation and care after caesarean section. It aims to improve the consistency and quality of care for women who are considering a caesarean section or have had a caesarean section in the past and are now pregnant again.


British guideline on the management of asthma

The 2019 update includes a complete revision of the section on monitoring asthma including new information on predicting future risk of asthma attacks, and updates to the sections on pharmacological management of asthma, supported self management, non-pharmacological management of asthma, and management of acute asthma in adults and children. It also includes a new checklist of information for patients and carers.

Patient focus

Patient focus looks at the issues that relate to partnership working and shared decision making. It covers people’s human rights including the right to privacy and confidentiality.

Nuffield Trust

Patient experience of NHS and social care service

This QualityWatch update uses data from national patient surveys to compare the experience of different NHS and social care services. Overall, access to GP services has worsened, experience of inpatient services has improved, and satisfaction with adult social care services has remained stable.

Nursing Notes

Suspending parliament to push a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for patients

Pushing through a no-deal Brexit could lead to a shortage of “life-saving” medication and ultimately be catastrophic for patients, health leaders have warned. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the British Medical Association (BMA) are among eleven organisations to join forces to issue the warning.


eHealth covers the ways technologies can act as key enablers in delivering healthcare in today’s society. It’s much more than any one type of technology or device. We are seeing the appearance of new operational models supported by technology.

Digital Health

Artificial intelligence ‘predicts fatal heart attacks up to 5 years in advance’

Artificial intelligence could be used to predict those at risk of a fatal heart attack up to five years in advance, new research has found. Experts at the University of Oxford have developed a “fingerprint”, or biomarker, using machine learning.

Nature Medicine

Do no harm: a roadmap for responsible machine learning for health care

Interest in machine-learning applications within medicine has been growing, but few studies have progressed to deployment in patient care. This article presents a framework, context and ultimately guidelines for accelerating the translation of machine-learning-based interventions in health care.

Staff focus

This theme highlights health and morale of the workforce. A positive working environment benefits staff and patients. Creating the best possible working conditions for nursing staff enables them to deliver the highest standards of patient care.

King’s Fund podcast

The core of care: Dame Donna Kinnair on bravery in leadership and the nursing workforce

How can we address the nursing workforce crisis? Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, sits down with Helen McKenna to talk about nursing, workforce pressures and her leadership journey.

Nursing in practice

Every nurse, midwife to have access to £1,000 personal training budget

The Chancellor, Sajid Javid, has announced a £210 million boost for frontline NHS staff which includes funding for a £1,000 personal development budget for every nurse, midwife and allied health professional to support their continuing professional development (CPD) needs over three years of the revalidation cycle.

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Quality and Safety eBulletin

Latest issue: 12 September 2019

Previous eBulletin: 29 August 2019


Executive Nurse Network conference 2019

Moving forward… at pace: RCN Executive Nurse Network Conference 2019

This event aims to give nurse leaders a non NHS perspective on leadership, resilience, emotional intelligence, compassion and excelling in conquering challenges. 

Book now