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Runners and Riders for CNO role

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Competition for the new chief nursing officer job will be fierce with a number of high profile nurses believed to be interested in the post, Nursing Times has learned.

Under the NHS reforms the current CNO role will be replaced by two posts - one on the new NHS Commissioning Board, with a focus on patient safety and patient experience, and a second more public health-focused role attached to the Department of Health.

The department is hoping to have the first chief nurse in post by the end of November and wants to advertise the role as soon as possible.

Current CNO Dame Christine Beasley, who is due to retire in the autumn, told Nursing Times there were a lot of nurses interested in the job who were “polishing their shoes” in preparation for the interview process.

NHS North West chief nurse and deputy chief executive Jane Cummings is among the frontrunners to replace her. Ms Cummings has worked as an adviser to the CNO on emergency care and was put in charge of implementing the ‘choose and book’ appointments system back in 2005.

Also in the frame is Sheffield Teaching Hospitals chief nurse Hilary Chapman, a member of the NHS Future Forum set up to review the government’s reform plans. She also sits on the NHS National Quality Board chaired by NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson who will also head up the commissioning board.

Of the two current deputy CNOs Nursing Times understands David Foster, an intensive care nurse and midwife by background, is more interested in the commissioning board post while Viv Bennett, a health visitor, is a strong contender for the public health role.

Chief nurses from three of three of London’s teaching hospitals are also understood to be interested in the post including two members of the prime minister’s commission on nursing: Janice Sigsworth, from Imperial College Healthcare Foundation Trust who was deputy CNO between 2006 and 2008, and Eileen Sills from Guys and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust who was awarded a CBE for services to nursing in 2003.

The third is Katherine Fenton who joined University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust at the start of the year from South Central strategic health authority where she was involved in developing the Energise for Excellence programme.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Either way England needs a nurse who will really champion nursing practice.
    The nursing profession has lost the plot and the evidence of this is in the numerous scandals. The NMC has been an extremely weak regulator and continues to be so despite its protestations. You only have the read the latest CHRE report on its conduct.

    This new CNO needs to be the line manager for all the Nurse Execs in England. That is the only way that change can happen effectively.
    However, this will be extremely difficult to do in the light of a Tory government which is out to dig and put the NHS in its grave.

    We need a nurse who is passionate, and provides the evidence, about nursing practice and changing attitudes.
    Eileen Sills from Kings/Guys seems to have the right base. She is the only one that I have heard of who seems to have been successful in tackling an attitudinal change to person-centred practice.

    But there may be others - let us list the champions on this website.

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  • 'Eileen Sills from Kings/Guys seems to have the right base. She is the only one that I have heard of who seems to have been successful in tackling an attitudinal change to person-centred practice'

    Wow! Could we borrow her?

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  • Not my experience of GSTT. I had the worst healthcare experience I have ever had there. SHe wouldn't be my first choice. Talk to the junior nurses who work with her. That's the real test.

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