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Dame Christine likely to stay on until summer

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Dame Christine Beasley’s term as chief nursing officer is likely to be extended until the summer, when a senior nurse will be appointed to the NHS Commissioning Board, Nursing Times has learnt.

The chief nursing officer for England, who has been in post since 2004, was due to retire at the end of March. But Nursing Times understands the Department of Health is close to deciding to extend her tenure.

Senior sources said a nurse executive would be appointed to the shadow NHS Commissioning Board in the summer, at which point Dame Christine will step down.

Securing a senior executive position on the commissioning board would be seen as a success for nursing. There has been concern the profession would lose influence under the government’s NHS reforms, and particularly that there would be a vacuum after Dame Christine retires.

A chair of the shadow commissioning board is due to be appointed in the spring then – with chief executive Sir David Nicholson – other senior appointments will be made by the autumn.

The board will formally take over from current NHS senior management and strategic health authorities in April next year.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Arrangements around the chief nursing officer’s retirement have not been finalised.”

We’re going viral! Have you friends heard about the ‘seat on the board’ petition? Let’s ensure nurses are actively involved in the new commissioning consortia.

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