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.