A nurse and hospital chief executive has been appointed national clinical director for rural and remote care by NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.
Lesley Boswell is the first nurse to be appointed to the 26-strong clinical directorate, all the other roles being held by doctors.
Clinical directors - who cover areas such as stroke, maternity and end of life care - work part time with NHS England to provide clinical leadership and support towards delivering improved health outcomes. They replace the “czars” that had responsiblity for particular disease areas before the NHS was reformed under the Health and Social care Act.
Ms Boswell will continue as chief executive of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust alongside the national position.
Ms Boswell told Nursing Times she wanted to raise the profile of the healthcare needs of rural communities and explore solutions such as better use of technology or using district general hospitals differently.
She said the “biggest issue” for rural areas was caring for their aging populations, who were often far from services.
“Age is a primary determinant of health and the majority of rural and remote areas have an increasingly older population, particularly the numbers of over 85s.
“The way to deal with that is to use an integrated approach,” she said.
Ms Boswell, a qualified mental health nurse, general nurse and health visitor, maintains her registration by working as a nurse in a sexual health service. Before joining Royal Cornwall in 2011 she was director of provider development at the South West strategic health authority and prior to that was chief executive of Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust.