The Royal College of Nursing has renewed its call for nurses to have a guaranteed place on all GP consortia boards.
A survey by the union found that the new commissioning consortia are “ploughing on” despite the ‘pause’ in the Health Bill’s progress through Parliament.
The RCN warned that the consortia are establishing new and inconsistent structures that are not transparent and may not be fully accountable.
Enquiries to 162 consortia across England found that fewer than one in three (30.5%) of those who responded have a nurse at board level.
The RCN has been calling for the role of nurses in commissioning services to be enshrined in law since the white paper was published last year.
The union has welcomed the opportunity for reflection represented by the pause, while expressing alarm about the reality on the ground - that consortia are implementing new and inconsistent structures without waiting for the findings of the NHS Future Forum.
RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: “We have welcomed the government’s listening exercise as an opportunity to reflect and to achieve a good outcome for patients.
“However, while the listening exercise has been going on, events on the ground have not stood still, and 90% of people in England are now covered by pathfinder consortia.
“Nurses are a hugely important part of any commissioning team, because they follow the patient throughout their care and have a unique range of skills and experience.”