Deputy chief nursing officer for England Viv Bennett has called on nurses to demonstrate why they should be involved in decisions on commissioning NHS services.
Ms Bennett was speaking last week at the launch of a network for nurses interested commissioning in London.
She said: “It is not just because you are the biggest profession; it’s because you have a whole bunch of skills that [consortia] would really struggle if they didn’t have.”
The network is part of the NHS Alliance – which represents primary care professionals – and plans to bring together nurses to influence consortia and government policy, as previously revealed by Nursingtimes.net in December.
Also speaking at the launch, NHS Alliance Commissioning Federation director Julie Wood said nurses had to be involved in many of the “different elements of the commissioning cycle”, by which services are contracted.
She said the alliance was helping the Department of Health develop a self assessment tool that would help to ensure consortia were clinically focussed, including having the input of nurses – though she thought it unlikely to stipulate having a nurse on the board.
Ms Wood said: “You will need to demonstrate that you have got a clinically driven organisation.”
She said the tool would not simply be “tick boxes” and instead would be aligned with the authorisation process that consortia will have to complete before they were allowed to take on NHS budgets.
NHS Alliance chief executive Mike Sobanja said: “The term GP commissioning consortia is at best unsuitable, and at worst misleading. We need to have clinicians of all types involved.”
Deputy CNO Viv Bennett will be hosting a live webchat on health visitor recruitment next Friday, read how you can join in.