Dr Ruth May, a former theatre sister and trust chief nurse, has been appointed as a senior advisor to the health sector regulator Monitor.
She will be the first person to hold the title of nursing director at the regulator, which it described as a “key post” within its patient and clinical engagement team.
She will bring a nursing voice to the team, which also includes Professor Hugo Mascie-Taylor, Monitor’s medical director and executive director of patient and clinical engagement.
A Monitor spokesman told Nursing Times that her start date at the regulator was yet to be confirmed, but was expected to be finalised soon.
The government arm’s-length body Monitor forms part of the heath sector’s regulatory framework, along with the Care Quality Commission and the NHS Trust Development Authority.
“The NHS faces a real challenge delivering the quality of care patients expect within the funding available”
It has particular responsibility for monitoring the performance of foundation trusts and the financial position of NHS organisations in general. It also decides when failing trusts should be placed in “special measures”, based on advice from the CQC.
Prior to joining Monitor, Dr May has been an influential member of NHS England’s national nursing leadership team, holding the post of regional chief nurse and nurse director for the Midlands and East region for around two years.
She has led work on the key action area of staffing and skill mix for the Compassion in Practice national nursing strategy.
Prior to her appointment at NHS England in October 2012, she held a similar regional role as nurse director for the now defunct NHS Midlands and East strategic health authority. She was also a member of the Prime Minister’s Nursing and Care Quality Forum.
Dr May is the second member of the chief nursing officer for England’s senior management team to leave this year.
Gill Harris, regional chief nurse for the North of England, announced that she was leaving in January. She will join The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust as its new chief nurse on 1 April.
As well as her recent strategic-level posts, Dr May has wide experience of nurse leadership and NHS management roles.
She was previously a theatre sister at Frimley Park Hospital, before becoming director of nursing and deputy chief executive at Havering Primary Care Trust.
For two years from October 2005, she was chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, and has also been chief executive of Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust.
Speaking on her appointment, Dr May said: “This is a really exciting time to be joining Monitor. The NHS faces a real challenge delivering the quality of care patients expect within the funding available.
“The recent Stop the Pressure campaign, which I led, demonstrates how thinking creatively can improve patients’ experience – in this case reducing the number of pressure ulcers by 50% – and deliver cost savings to the NHS,” she said.
“I’m delighted the Guardian [newspaper] recognised that as part of its coverage of NHS Change Day and I look forward to bringing that kind of thinking to the health regulator,” she added, highlighting yesterday’s national NHS Change Day initiative.
Professor Mascie-Taylor said he “warmly welcomed” Dr May to her new role with Monitor.
“She has a depth of knowledge both as a nurse and as a former NHS chief executive and I look forward to working with her,” he said.