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CNO calls on senior nurses to join safe staffing advisory group

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Directors of nursing are being called upon to join an over-arching advisory group that will be set up as part of future national work on safe staffing.

In a letter to NHS trusts sent today, chief nursing officer for England Jane Cummings reiterated that she will now work to develop safe staffing guidance with a new body called NHS Improvement – formed from regulators Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority.

“It is important that there is systematic oversight by a multi-stakeholder advisory group for these programmes”

Jane Cummmings and Dr Mike Durkin

Her letter also repeated health minister Jeremy Hunt’s announcement last month that Dr Mike Durkin will move to NHS Improvement from NHS England to lead the safe staffing programme and work alongside the CNO.

In the letter, jointly signed by the CNO and Dr Durkin, they said they were now requesting nominations from academics and nursing staff working in trusts to be a part of an over-arching advisory group working across each of the strands of guidance.

The five areas the guidance will cover are mental health, learning disability, urgent and emergency care, primary and community services, and maternity.

“It is important that there is systematic oversight by a multi-stakeholder advisory group for these programmes,” said Ms Cummings and Dr Durkin.

They said the role of the advisory group will be to “assure that there has been effective widespread engagement” and to “quality assure the outputs of the programme”.

“It will also review the impact on patient outcomes, together with the economic, workforce development, and operational impact,” they stated in the letter.

“[The advisory group] will review the impact on patient outcomes, and the economic, workforce development, and operational impact”

Jane Cummmings and Dr Mike Durkin

The proposed membership of the group currently includes representatives from NHS Employers, the Royal College of Nursing, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and the chief professional officer for Allied Health Professionals.

It will also include a representative from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, academics and directors of nursing from acute, mental health, and learning disability and community trusts.

The letter said the safe staffing guidance would only be published by NHS England’s National Quality Board once it had taken into account feedback from both the advisory group and independent reviews by NICE, the Care Quality Commission and Sir Robert Francis.

Earlier this year it was revealed national safe staffing guidance for nurses would no longer be produced by independent body NICE, but would instead be taken over by the CNO at NHS England.

Widespread criticism followed the announcement, but the CNO defended the move claiming the decision was not based on saving money and that a new approach was needed that took into account the multi-disciplinary teams nurses work within.

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