Nursing professor Laura Serrant has been named as the new chair of the chief nursing officer for England’s black and minority ethnic strategic advisory group.
Her appointment was announced at the CNO for England’s summit in Birmingham today. She will take over the role from outgoing chair Dr Joan Myers, who has led the BME advisory group since 2012.
“We have [a] strong, committed and diverse workforce across the four countries and all regions. We need to harness our resources well”
Professor Serrant is based at Sheffield Hallam University, but in 2016 completed an 18-month secondment at NHS England in the CNO’s nursing directorate.
While at NHS England, she was head of evidence and strategy, and helped evaluate the impact of the CNO’s Compassion In Practice nursing strategy.
Professor Serrant joins the advisory group at a time when its structure is expanding to align more closely with the regional chief nursing officers within NHS England.
Announcing the appointment, chief nursing officer for England Professor Jane Cummings also said that she expected new figures to reveal an improvement in the number of BME nurses gaining senior positions in the NHS, after a long period of stagnation.
“I am the national lead for the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard and I am determined to ensure employees from BME backgrounds have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment at work through clear, measurable and transparent reporting of standards, accompanied by support and best practice improvement programmes that help achieve these standards,” said the CNO.
“We are all driven in some shape or form to recruit staff to represent the populations we serve. WRES applies to all NHS settings,” she said during her keynote speech at the summit.
“We have some confidence that when the WRES data analysis for 2016 is published next month it is likely to show some early signs of an increase in the number of BME nurses and midwives at bands 6 to 9,” she said. “We will have to wait for the final figures, but we are encouraged by the way in which NHS organisations are putting their minds to tackling the waste of talent that previous data has shown.
“I am supported by my CNO BME strategic advisory group, whose work and advice I value highly,” she said. “I want to take this opportunity to thank Joan Myers, the outgoing chair, and today I can confirm and welcome Professor Laura Serrant who has just been appointed as the new chair.”
Professor Cummings added that four new regional co-ordinators would also be appointed “very soon”.
Following today’s announcement, Professor Serrant said on the social media site Twitter that she was “proud” to be have been appointed chair.
“We have [a] strong, committed and diverse workforce across the four countries and all regions. We need to harness our resources well,” she said.
Her appointment was also strongly welcomed by Dr Myers.