The government’s new GP-led commissioning groups will have to prove they have a nurse on their governing body before taking on their duties, according to documents seen by Nursing Times.
Last summer health secretary Andrew Lansley promised that – despite being run by GPs – the approval process for clinical commissioning groups would ensure they had nurse representation. It followed Nursing Times’ Seat on the Board campaign and calls from other groups such as the Royal College of Nursing.
CCGs are already starting to take over NHS funding decisions and are set to formally replace primary care trusts from April 2013. But first they will need to be authorised by the new national NHS Commissioning Board. It will make decisions between July and December this year.
Details of the authorisation process, seen by Nursing Times and due to be published shortly, confirm that one requirement is that the “CCG governing body includes [a] nurse and secondary care clinician”.
The requirements also emphasise the importance of involving clinicians other than GPs. They require a “strong clinical and multi-professional focus” and that CCGs have “arrangements in place with a multi-professional range of clinicians to share information and learning”.
However, the authorisation details confirm that GP practices will control CCGs, including designing the nurse role and choosing the individual. They do not address widespread fears among nurses that some CCGs will choose under qualified and under experienced nurses for their board.
A Nursing Times investigation has revealed wide variations in the current status of nursing in emerging CCGs.