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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Schwartz Rounds supporting staff at North Cumbria hospitals trust

Schwartz Rounds supporting staff at North Cumbria hospitals trust

Posted on Monday 9th February 2015
A and E staff

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is amongst the first 100 organisations in the UK to implement Schwartz Rounds as a way of supporting over 4,000 members of staff working in the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

Sir Robert Francis’ Inquiry in 2013 recommended Schwartz rounds as a way to help bring about a positive culture change in the NHS. The Point of Care Foundation, supports the Schwartz round programme nationally, stating that the NHS cannot deliver good care unless it provides good support to staff.

Schwartz Rounds are expertly facilitated, confidential meetings where staff from all backgrounds and professions voluntarily come together to discuss the emotional and social challenges associated with their jobs. The premise for Rounds is that the compassion shown by staff can make all the difference to a patient’s experience of care, but that in order to provide care with compassion, staff must themselves feel supported in their work. 

Schwartz rounds actively promote staff wellbeing, with evaluation showing that they can have a significant impact on participants and on their host organisations. In many cases, participants have reported that insights gained at Rounds led to the implementation of specific changes in departmental or hospital-wide practices or policies to benefit both patients and providers. Studies have also found that the more Rounds caregivers attended, the greater the benefits they experienced.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has held four Schwartz Rounds since they started in 2014, with over 100 members of staff participating from a variety of job roles. Topics discussed have included palliative care, the challenges of meeting the four hour A&E standard, memorable patients and getting it right for patients, carers and relatives.

Alison Proudfoot, head of patient experience at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The life of a healthcare professional is an unusual one. Staff deal with chronic ill health, trauma and death on a regular basis and that can really take its toll.  Schwartz Rounds are designed to support our staff with the emotional aspects of working with patients and allows staff to share their experiences with each other.

“Attendance and interest in the rounds held in both of our hospitals is growing momentum with the staff. The passion, commitment and dedication of staff really shines through in the sessions. Support for each other and genuine care for patients is what helps staff through the really challenging times.”

Nearly 80% of staff from a range of professional groups who have attended Schwartz rounds in North Cumbria has rated them as either “excellent” or “exceptional”. 

Comments from our staff about Schwartz Rounds include:

  • “These sessions will improve colleague interactions and how we support each other- which ultimately will improve care for our patients.”
  • “It’s good to hear we’re not alone in how we feel.”
  • “Hearing how doctors feel helps me feel better in having the same feelings”
  • “Schwartz rounds are a brilliant way to recognise and talk about when we get it right and when we sometimes don’t and to improve our emotional support, …as a result our experiences, our patients’ experiences and ultimately our outcomes will be all the better for it”.