Question mark over nurse representation in first wave of CCGs
Five of the 34 new clinical commissioning groups that were approved this week do not have a nurse in place on their board yet, despite it being mandatory, Nursing Times has learnt.
GP-led CCGs will replace primary care trusts next April under the government’s health reforms.
Last year successful Nursing Times’ Seat on the Board campaign helped to convince the government to make it mandatory for CCGs to have a senior nurse on their boards to represent the profession.
The first 34 CCGs were “authorised” by the NHS Commissioning Board earlier this week, after passing a series of tests to prove they were ready to take over commissioning from primary care trusts in April.
However, five had a condition placed on them because they did not yet have a nurse on the board. They are Wokingham, Newbury, North and West Reading, and South Reading CCGs in Berkshire and Wandsworth CCG in London.
They told Nursing Times they had all appointed a nurse but the appointees would not take up their roles until February.
By next April all 211 CCGs will need to be authorised by the NHS Commissioning Board, which will assess whether they are ready to take on responsibility for £65bn of the NHS budget between them.
Of the 34 in the “first wave”, announced this week, only eight were authorised without any conditions attached.
The Royal College of Nursing also campaigned for nurses to be represented on CCG boards. It said it was “disappointed” that any CCGs had been authorised without anyone from the nursing profession on their board.
RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “While we realise that this is currently a work in progress, this requirement has been known for quite some time.”
He also warned against CCGs viewing the presence of nurse on the board as the only nursing involvement in commissioning and said nurses should be involved at every level of the process.
A spokeswoman for the NHS Commissioning Board said the board would work with the CCGs to support recruitment of a nurse to the governing body.
She added: “The NHS Commissioning Board would expect CCGs to seek the views of nurses and other professionals at all times, regardless of their governing body membership.”