A former member of the Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery has said she will start reducing the number of specialist nurse roles at her trust.
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Foundation Trust chief executive Heather Lawrence, who has a nursing background and sat on the prime minister’s commission last year, told Nursing Times she had begun discussing changes to inpatient specialist roles with staff. She also plans to look at outpatient and community nurse specialists.
One of the commissions’ recommendations was to regulate advanced practitioners and make sure, based on their skills, they deserved their title. It is thought that could mean reducing some specialist roles and using savings to support ward sisters, whose pay and status is regarded as significantly lower than some specialist nurse roles.
Ms Lawrence said she was looking at reducing the number of specialist roles alongside a review of the staff mix for different services and care pathways, with the aim of reducing costs while improving care.
She said the trust’s many nursing roles in different specialities should be significantly reduced to “about 10”, though the trust has yet to decide on what specific roles these will be.
Conclusions from the review will be discussed with other trusts and used to help commission training. Ms Lawrence also hopes the process will inform the future regulation of specialist roles – another recommendation of the commission.
She said: “We have to take health services forward at a time of constraint, so we have to review all of our roles and job plans.
“We need to be able to say: ‘This is the skill set for a role that will give confidence to us and to the public,” she told Nursing Times.
“It is down to people like myself to work collectively to see what patients need and work to make sure we have those roles – not to just let people arrive willy nilly.”