This week we are proud to launch the Nursing Times A Seat on the Board campaign.
Our goal is to ensure that the organisations involved in advising GP commissioning consortia recommend that at least one nurse is included on each consortium board to shape decisions about the procurement and provision of healthcare services.
Nurses are involved in a vast proportion of direct patient care so they have a unique perspective on the NHS. This insight means they must be involved in decisions about the services consortia offer to make sure the health service runs efficiently and effectively.
As the major providers of hands-on care in the health service, nurses know what patients and their families need. They understand all the social, environmental and financial factors that impact on them and what will offer the best outcomes.
Nurses are on the front line, and see what patients require and what is missing from the care pathway. A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to attend the Queen’s Nursing Institute’s Fund for Innovation awards, which celebrate nurses and their ability to spot gaps in healthcare provision. It is nurses who have ensured, for example, that patients in Warwickshire can use services by teaching them health related right vocabulary, and it is nurses who piloted a programme to improve the mental health of older men in Barking and Dagenham at risk of social isolation, depression and suicide.
The aim of our campaign is to ensure all those bodies that have started issuing guidelines to commissioning consortia – namely the British Medical Association, Royal College of GPs, NHS Alliance and the National Association of Primary Care Trusts – give clear instructions that there must be at least one nurse on every consortium board.
Nurses have previously been disenfranchised from commissioning, which is a shame because they have much to contribute. Failure to involve them would seriously affect patients’ experience. So sign our petition at www.nursingtimes.net/seatontheboard and make sure that nurses’ voices are heard and patients are given the best care.