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More nurses needed to work in commissioning, says CNO


Senior nurses will be encouraged to go into commissioning roles through a new initiative being set up by the NHS Commissioning Board and the Royal College of Nursing.

Speaking at the Healthcare Innovation Expo in London last week, chief nursing officer for England Jane Cummings said she wanted to target nurses who work at a senior level to encourage them to go into this “critical role”.

Speaking to Nursing Times afterwards, she said that there was a need to make commissioning “an attractive career” for nurses but also to ensure that all nurses realised they could influence the commissioning and design of services.

In 2011 Nursing Times’ Seat on the Board campaign helped ensure nurses were represented on the GP led clinical commissioning groups which will replace primary care trusts from April.

Ms Cummings said it was important this was not a “tick-box exercise” but that nurses made a real contribution.

She also announced plans to set up a network of practice nurses who she described as “hard to reach”.  The joint initiative with the RCN aims to support practice nurses to contribute to innovation and influence CCGs.

“We have better access to them now through CCGs than we did through the previous system,” said Ms Cummings. “But they are still hard to reach, and it’s hard for them to reach me.”

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Readers' comments (5)

  • No, you silly woman. Here's a hint. In the headline, subtract "to work in commissioning, says CNO"and you are left with the answer to many of our current problems.

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  • Oh please give the 'woman' a chance it seems it is 'she is damned if she does and damned if she doesnt'
    I agree the NHS could do with more nurses however the development of Practice Nursing is one area we collectively need to ensure we support. After all they (Practice Nurses) are often the first point of contact with nursing that the public (that includes us nurses!) have with the NHS.

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  • Ami David | 19-Mar-2013 7:32 am

    who ever is in this position they are going to attract negative comments which really are of very little value or constructive help!

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  • The influence of nursing in commissioning is absolutely vital. Much of the decline and influence in policy decisions, the direction and design of services and the patients voice are missing precisely because of the decline in nursing influence in such areas and the lack of the nursing voice in commissioning. If we don't embrace such roles who will provide the challenge and direction when it comes to service re-design - do you really want that to be led by GP's and others. Who will know better the quality of the service and/or the gaps in quality within both acute and community services and the reasons for them, or the solutions to make the service fit for purpose. Commissioning is a very powerful role that can help shape the future for both patient's and the profession. Jane Cummings is right. Use your skills and use your voice, don't dismiss the vital role of nurses in commissioning.

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  • As a qualified nurse with more than 20 years experience I now find myself working closely with commissioners in my current role and agree that this imput is vital.

    It is our voices that add clarity to the decisions being made around current and proposed sevices. We are the ones that have worked within these services and know how to seperate theory from reality, fact from fiction and blue sky thinking from pie in the sky thinking.

    We are all aware that we need more nurses and that is a huge issue, however for those of us are given the opportunity to add our voices loud and clear to those of commissioners, and be listened to, then we need to explore this option to improve patient care.

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