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Deputy CNO to stand down next year


The deputy chief nursing officer for England has announced she is to stand down, less than six months after taking up the role.

Liz Redfern, who is also regional director of nursing for the NHS England South region, will leave the two roles next spring after more than 30 years in the profession.

Addressing the chief nursing officer’s summit in Birmingham this week, Ms Redfern said it had been a “difficult” and “deeply personal decision”.

She said: “I had to think about can I be me without being the CNO of something?”

Her position as chief nurse for the south of England was extended to include deputising for chief nursing officer Jane Cummings in June this year.

Ms Redfern was previously director of nursing at NHS South West from 2006 until the strategic health authorities were abolished under the Health and Social Care Act reforms.

In a very personal speech to the summit, Ms Redfern revealed she had only started to feel she was good enough to do her job in the past couple of years.

She said she had felt “squashed” by the pace setting style of leadership in places she had worked at in the past and was more suited towards a collaborative approach.

“I have worked in some very pace setting organisations… I can do that but it’s probably not my style,” she said.

Ms Redfern, who was given the CNO award for lifetime achievement at this year’s Nursing Times awards, plans to do more coaching work and some consultancy when she steps down. She also revealed she had started writing poetry.

She added: “I’m doing something different. That can confuse people, they want to read things into it that may not be there.”

Ms Redfern joined the NHS in 1970 as a cadet nurse and then qualified in general and paediatric nursing in 1974.


Readers' comments (6)

  • Who will notice?

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  • Good, let's hope she's not replaced.

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  • never heard of her any way!

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  • I read this article three times. It would appear (subjectively) that this lady was trying to get things done? Despite that her attempts at beneficial reform have been thwarted? When the term 'pace' is used, then 'change of' is indicated. Certainly this is rhetoric and is not pertinent.
    I had never heard of this nurse. It does not detract from the fact that even in a senior role one can run into an institutional brick wall?
    At least Liz Redfern has demonstrated her integrity and progressive approach to modern nursing. Resigning, holding her head high and illuminating the stagnancy of 'chief nurses' today.
    As all nurses know, trying to get things done from the top>down puts you in the line of fire. Pace=action and that is difficult for many people.
    Well done Liz.

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  • As stated in the first comment, "Who will notice?"

    The answer is very few people. No one knows who this woman is or what, if anything, she achieved in the post she is now leaving. She has had a succession of senior posts over the course of the years, so has been picking up a fairly hefty salary for being quite invisible.
    I might be saying "Well done Liz", if she stayed and fought through any difficulites. However, she has decided to throw in the towel and is so averse to offending her senior colleagues that she has chosen not to use this conference to make an effective final statement. Pity.

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  • She was DNS in Taunton then went to the SHA. Then NHS England. That last job was re advertised at 120K. She's taken early retirement for personal reasons. As they go, she's OK. I worked with her. She stood up for nurses as well as she could in a very aggressive male manager dominated environment which was very macho and bullying. I'm not surprised she's going and I bet she can't wait to retire, like the rest of us, except we've got longer to wait and a lot less money.

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