There will be around 50 regional senior nurses running branches of the new NHS Commissioning Board, Nursing Times understands.
Senior sources said the draft operating model for the commissioning board – currently being developed – includes the role of chief nurse in each of its 50 local “branch” offices.
These branches will develop from primary care trust clusters, all of which currently have a chief nurse. There will also be four regional chief nurses, covering each of the recently clustered strategic health authority areas, as well as a chief nursing officer at national level.
Yvonne Sawbridge, NHS Alliance vice chair and former PCT nursing director, told Nursing Times the exact role of the branch nurses was not yet known because it was still unclear how responsibilities would be split between local clinical commissioning groups and the NHS Commissioning Board.
She said: “We need clarity on the purpose of organisations first, before you can define the role of everybody around the table.”
However, she said the regional nurses were likely to take a “strategic system management overview” of their patch. They would also potentially lead networks of senior nurses in their area, something currently done by strategic health authority chief nurses.
Ms Sawbridge said she expected nurses on the board of, or working for, clinical commissioning groups would be involved in a narrower set of more local decisions. She said: “The CCG board will still have a strategic role, but be more focused on what works locally.”
She said CCG should still have a lead nurse with a “corporate director” background and training, and working full time or nearly full time in the role.
Meanwhile, the first formal meeting of the commissioning board last Friday was due to confirm a chief nurse would be one of five executive directors with voting rights on its board. The post, which was expected to be appointed earlier in the year, has yet to be advertised.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed the board has gained approval from the Treasury to appoint a national chief nurse. Its chief executive Sir David Nicholson is expected toadvertise for the role shortly.
As well as the commissioning board chief nurse, there will be a “director of nursing” who will advise the government on public health. Appointment of that role is underway.
- Londonwide Local Medical Committees, a body that represents GPs in London is to admit nurses for the first time, its chief executive Dr Michelle Drage has told Nursing Times. It will be the first LMC in the country to include nurse representation.