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Handful of nursing leaders make list of top health policy influencers

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Six nurses or former members of the nursing profession have made it into this year’s HSJ100 list of the most influential people in health policy in England.

The annual list, compiled by Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal, is traditionally dominated by senior NHS leaders, government ministers, policy and finance experts and pioneering trust managers.

Claire Murdoch

Claire Murdoch

Claire Murdoch

The highest placed nurse on the list this year is Claire Murdoch, chief executive of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, and national director for mental health at NHS England.

She is now at number 17, having climbed a massive 59 places from number 76 in last year’s list, largely as a result of her new national role unveiled in April.

Her appointment will see her play a key role in leading NHS England’s work on improving mental health services over the next five years in response to the findings of its recent independent mental health taskforce report.

Ms Murdoch, a registered mental health nurse for 34 years, is also chief executive of one of the largest integrated community and mental health trusts in the country.

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Ruth May

The next highest place nurse in the 2016 HSJ100 at number 24 is a new entry, Dr Ruth May, executive nursing director at the newly-created healthcare regulator NHS Improvement.

The influence of Dr May, who was also recently made deputy chief nursing officer for England, has been judged to have risen significantly since she gained the top nursing job at NHS Improvement in February this year, having joined from one of its predecessors Monitor.

Dr May, a former theatre sister and trust chief nurse, became Monitor’s first nursing director in March 2015. Prior to that she had been an influential member of NHS England’s national nursing leadership team, holding the post of regional chief nurse for the Midlands and East.

She has stated at recent events that supporting trusts on maintaining safe nurse staffing levels is one of her key priorities at present. She is also working on projects to boost nurse leadership roles, including helping deputy nursing directors to step up to become nursing directors.

Julie Moore

Julie Moore

Next is Dame Julie Moore, a trust boss with a nursing background who has appeared regularly in the annual HSJ list.

The well-respected chief executive of both University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has fallen two places this year, from number 33 to 31.

She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2012 and was also included in the first BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour list of the 100 most powerful women in the UK.

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Janet Davies

The next nurse to appear in the new HSJ list is Janet Davies, the chief executive and general secretary of influential union and professional body the Royal College of Nursing.

Ms Davies has fallen slightly, from number 33 in 2015 to number 38 in 2016, having been in the RCN’s pivotal leadership role for just over a year.

Replacing Peter Carter as chief executive in August 2015, Ms Davies has been an ever-present member of the RCN’s executive team since 2005.

At number 39 is Samantha Jones, NHS England’s new care models programme director.

Appointed in January 2015, she is leading the implementation of ideas outlined in the national body’s Five-Year Forward View plan for the health service.

She started her NHS career as a paediatric and general nurse before moving into management roles in both the health service and independent sector.

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Jane Cummings

The chief nursing officer for England, Professor Jane Cummings, has been placed at number 81 in the new list, despite being at number 68 in 2015.

Her fall in the HSJ ranking suggests that the judges viewed the new nursing framework launched in May – Leading Change, Adding Value – less favourably than its predecessor Compassion in Practice, which incorporated the “6Cs”.

Meanwhile, at the top of the list was Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, and in second place was health secretary Jeremy Hunt – representing no change from last year.

Nurses appearing in the 2016 HSJ100

 Rank Name Job Title 2015 HSJ100 Change
 17  Claire Murdoch  Chief executive, Central and North West London Foundation Trust, and national director for mental health, NHS England  76  ▲ 59
 24  Ruth May  Executive director of nursing, NHS Improvement, and deputy chief nursing officer for England  New entry  
 33  Dame Julie Moore  Chief executive, University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust and Heart of England Foundation Trust  31  ▼ 2
 38  Janet Davies  Chief executive and general secretary, Royal College of Nursing  33  ▼ 5
 39  Samantha Jones  Director for new models of care, NHS England  32  ▼ 7
 81  Jane Cummings  Chief nursing officer for England  68  ▼ 13


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