Nurses selected to sit on the boards of clinical commissioning groups must have “significant experience” of the whole healthcare system and “proven managerial capability”, according to guidance due to be published by the Royal College of Nursing.
The guidance is a response to the RCN’s concerns that the CCGs being set up around the country are often picking practice nurses, with little wider experience of the NHS or leadership, as the profession’s representative on their board.
CCGs will take over responsibility for the majority of the NHS budget from primary care trusts in April next year. The government last year said the groups must have at least one nurse on the board, following Nursing Times’ “Seat on the Board” campaign and calls from other groups including the college.
But RCN policy director Howard Catton told Nursing Times it was receiving reports CCGs were publishing job descriptions and hiring individuals who were unqualified and inexperienced for their future role.
The RCN document, called “Towards Authorisation – the Lead Nurse Contribution to Clinical Commissioning Groups”, is being sent to emerging CCGs around the country. It is understood the Department of Health may also include some of the document’s suggestions in formal guidance for CCGs, to be published over the next two months.
The RCN document says CCG nurses should be “clinical leaders who have significant experience and understanding of the whole health and social care system”. They should be “senior nurses, particularly those who have gained previous experience in commissioning”, it says.
The document also sets out the critical roles nurse board members will play on CCGs, the competencies they should have, and a model job description.
Essential requirements are that the nurse “should have senior management experience and a broad understanding of the complexities of care; experience of working in a variety of settings; [and] should have experience of clinical service redesign”.
It is also “desirable” that they have commissioning experience and expertise in safeguarding and in monitoring quality standards, the paper says.
Mr Catton told Nursing Times: “Our local intelligence has been in some areas it looks as though predominantly practice nurses – as important as they are – are being asked to become involved [on boards].
“They may not have the experience, for example, in strategic service redesign and multi-stakeholder involvement, and the commissioning experience we think is necessary for a corporate lead nursing role of this significance.”