Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


Closing the gap between politician and practitioner


The spending review has pretty much kept the national newspapers and every web editor in copy for the next few days or weeks at least, but the really big bit of news for the profession is about nurses having to work until they are 66.

It’s caused quite a furore on our pages, as you can see from some of the comments on our news story on this subject.

And politics was on the agenda at the Nursing Workforce Forum conference in London on Tuesday.

Anne Milton, parliamentary under secretary for the Department of Health, kicked off the day by telling delegates that she didn’t know quite how she had gone from one of the most respected careers as a nurse, to becoming a politician, and having one of the most vilified.

I have some sympathy for that view, as I think journalists are regarded by some parts of society as only just below tax inspectors and traffic wardens.

But the MP did quite a lot to win over some fans from nurses in the room, who seemed genuinely pleased to have her listen to their views on nursing and the ideas that some of them had implemented.

And Anne, for her part, was actively encouraging delegates to share their best practice with each other and with her private secretary. “There’s been somewhat of a gap between politician and practitioner,” she said. “And we need to close that gap.”

As part of the day, chair Stephen Welfare from NHS East of England, asked us all to write down ideas for Anne to implement or think about introducing, and those are winging their way to Whitehall as I type, but if you have any more – then please do shout about them on here for us to send on, or send them to Anne at her private office. It’s a real opportunity to have a former nurse in such a role, and I hope that in this profession we can use that to our advantage. On my blog, there have been several posts about engaging with Whitehall, and Anne certainly opened the door for us to do that, and I intend to keep it more than a little ajar.


Readers' comments (4)

  • I agree completely, what better time, we have a nurse right in the thick of it! It sounds like Anne hasn't forgotten where she came from, unlike so many.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Here's just two of many;

    ARGUE FOR A LEGALISED NURSE/PATIENT RATIO!!!!! Nothing less can stop the scandal of understaffing and nothing less can help us care for our patients in the way we want to!

    ARGUE FOR BETTER PAY FOR QUALIFIED NURSES!!! Just look at the level of skill/education/qualifications/accountability and responsibility Nurses hold, and look at our pathetic level of pay compared to Doctors for example, the gap is just far too wide!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'll believe Anne Milton has remembered her roots when Nursing numbers are running at safe figures again.

    When our hospitals are seen once again as buildings where the sick and infirm in our society can receive care treatment, and not used as figures in a league table of government successes ...or failure.

    When budgets are prioritised towards patient care rather than the latest updates in IT software and systems and the building of empires by administrative staff.

    When our patient’s relatives and hospital staff are able to park freely and safely without contributing to the profits of private enterprise.

    Then I'll believe Anne Milton has taken her beliefs, her training and experiences from her pre parliamentary career with her and put them to some worthwhile use.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Well said Roger!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.