The government is set to make it compulsory for GP consortia to have a nurse representative on their boards, Nursing Times understands.
In a speech at a London hospital this afternoon, prime minister David Cameron said: “Hospital doctors and nurses will be involved in clinical commissioning.”
Nursing Times understands there will be a requirement for commissioning consortia to have a board, and to include a nurse on the body. It is understood there will no barriers to consortia choosing a nurse representative employed by one of their practices.
It is understood nurses and hospital doctors are the only two groups the government is planning to mandate a place on the board.
Such a move would constitute victory for Nursing Times’s Seat on the Board campaign, calling for nurses to be actively involved in commissioning consortia and represented on their boards.
Head of the Royal College of Nursing Peter Carter said if true it vindicated the campaigning the RCN and others had been doing ever since the publication of the health white paper last July, including Nursing Times’ Seat on the Board campaign.
Dr Carter said: “From the time you come into the healthcare system you will never be far from a nurse. Nurses understand the intricacies of the care pathway and the need to provide a comprehensive range of services.”
He denied having a nurse on the board was tokenistic and said it was a weak argument used by those against increasing nursing presence.
“We are not talking about some newly qualified band five being put on the board; we are talking about people with experience and gravitas. Most of the progressive GPs and secondary consultants recognise that if you want something to work just as you have to have doctors, you have to have nurses involved.”
In his speech at University College London Hospital Foundation Trust, Mr Cameron made five pledges for the future of the NHS, promising not to “sell off” the NHS, to maintain universal coverage, improve integrated care, ensure waiting times are kept low and increase spending.
However, Royal College of Midwives general secretary Cathy Warwick questioned whether the government could be relied upon to stick by the pledges.
She said: “David Cameron has not honoured his pre-election pledge to recruit 3,000 more midwives, so how can we trust him not to break his promise on these pledges?”