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Welsh nursing undergoes digital revolution

A brand new, digital way of working has been introduced for nurses and other hospital staff in Wales.

This marks a pivotal moment in the history of nursing, one that will completely change working practices for nurses and other members of the multi-disciplinary teams in Wales.

A new system, the Welsh Nursing Care Record, is transforming nursing documentation by standardising forms, and turning them from paper to digital. For the first time ever, nurses will be able to complete assessments at a patient’s bedside on a mobile tablet, or other handheld device, saving time, improving accuracy, and minimising duplication.

Data from the WNCR will be used to drive developments in learning across organisations in health and care in Wales to improve patient outcomes and experiences. The new system will enhance efficiency, value, and timeliness of care with the aim of improving patient safety.

Patients and staff will be able to move across services in Wales using the single WNCR system, ensuring consistency and accuracy. When a patient is discharged from hospital, digital assessments taken by nurses involved in their care will be made available to the national, digital patient record, the Welsh Clinical Portal (WCP). This means that the information will follow the patient wherever their care is provided in Wales.

The project has involved nurses and multidisciplinary team members from every NHS health board and trust in Wales, working together for over three years to standardise the forms and create the new digital process. A Clinical Nursing Lead is now employed in each health board and trust to lead the introduction of the new documents.

Claire Bevan, the Senior Responsible Owner for the project, said: “I want to express my gratitude to the project team and all nurses and members of the wider multi-professional groups across Health and Care Wales who have informed through their expert reference groups the standardisation of nursing documents.

These have been digitised by the specialist skilled developers to design the Welsh Nursing Care Record by listening to nurses to ensure that the WNCR is fit for practice in the adult care environments.”

Roll out of the new online documents began in April at South Pembrokeshire Community, Neath Port Talbot, Velindre Cancer Centre and Withybush General Hospital. Powys Teaching Health Board and Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board are preparing for go-live during early summer, with other organisations planning release later in 2021, aligned to local activities.