Commissioning consortia boards should not contain “token” nurses but must involve the profession in relevant decision making, a senior nursing figure on the NHS Future Forum has told Nursing Times.
Registered nurse and chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust Julie Moore is a member of the new NHS Future Forum, which is currently reviewing the government’s health reforms.
Nursing Times is campaigning for to require all consortium boards to contain at least one nurse. Research suggests around a third of emerging consortia currently do and requiring all to do so has been touted as a likely amendment to the government’s Health and Social Care Bill.
In her first interview with Nursing Times, Ms Moore said: “There should be nursing involvement when there’s a decision that you need a nurse’s involvement for.”
But she said there should not be “token” nurses on consortia boards – echoing a phrase also used by health secretary Andrew Lansley and the forum’s chair leading GP Steve Field.
Ms Moore said: “One of the things I’ve hated in my life is being a token this, that and the other. You go along to endless boring meetings and actually most of the work… is nothing to do with the work you do.”
She added: “My personal view is that boards need to be small, fleet of foot and can pull on the right people at the right time.”
Ms Moore also told Nursing Times that nurses had raised the concern with her that by sitting on boards they would not be able to represent the full range of the nursing profession.
She said: “It’s a hugely complex thing to make sure you get the correct representation. If you put on [the board] somebody who has a health visitor background, you’re still going to have to pull on the palliative care nurses and everybody else if you are looking at the care of the dying.”
Ms Moore is leading the education and training work stream on the forum, which is conducting the listening exercise on the NHS reforms.
The government is still producing its response to a consultation which proposed that NHS training be funded by a levy on providers rather than by strategic health authorities.
She said the main concern had been over the “pace” of changes to NHS training in a time of financial difficulties for trusts.