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Next CNO to work across NHS England and NHS Improvement

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The next chief nursing officer for England will be a joint appointment and work across two national agencies instead the current one, it has been revealed.

At present, CNO Professor Jane Cummings is based at NHS England, the national commissioning organisation, while Dr Ruth May is executive chief nurse at the regulatory body NHS Improvement.

“NHS England and NHS Improvement are combining and reshaping our management groups”

Job advert

However, when Professor Cummings steps down later this year, the next incumbent will work across both arms’-length bodies, according to the job advert for the role.

It states: “NHS England and NHS Improvement are combining and reshaping our management groups into a new shared group, to which we are now appointing a chief nursing officer.

“This role is a joint appointment, leading a single team reporting to both chief executive officers,” said the advert, which was published on the NHS England website.

Applications for the role will officially close on 4 October. It comes with a maximum salary of £176,750 per year.

The advert noted that CNO was accountable for providing “clinical and professional leadership” for nurses and midwives in England.

“Candidates will be strategic thought leaders with extensive knowledge across the breadth of nursing”

Job advert

The future post holder would also provide professional and clinical nursing advice for the NHS, the boards of NHS England and NHS Improvement, and also the Department of Health and Social Care.

The advert stated that a background of “significant experience” as a senior nurse at board level in the NHS and a “substantial track record of delivery and driving improvements in quality of care in very complex, high profile environments is essential”.

“Candidates will be strategic thought leaders with extensive knowledge across the breadth of nursing and midwifery issues,” it said.

As reported, Professor Cummings recommended that the next CNO should be the executive nurse lead for both NHS England and NHS Improvement when she revealed in May that she was leaving.

The merger of the roles is the latest change to the positioning of the CNO role and the leadership structure of nursing at national level in England.

The current leadership structure has faced questions since its inception in the wake of the NHS reforms that saw many of the functions of the Department of Health passed to arms’-length bodies.

The CNO role used to be based at the department, along with two deputies and a team. However, the government split the CNO role at the department into two new senior positions and relocated them, with a CNO based at NHS England and a director of nursing at Public Health England.

The high profile Francis report into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, published in 2013, said “effectiveness of the newly positioned office” of CNO should be kept under review.

But, with the formal creation of the new health service regulator NHS Improvement in April 2016 – which replaced Monitor and several other bodies – a third senior national nursing role was created. Under the latest plans, the roles will be reduced to two again.

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