Health secretary Andrew Lansley has said he would like to see nurses appointed to GP consortia commissioning boards, but remains opposed to making it mandatory.
Mr Lansley’s comments to Nursing Times are the closest he has come yet to publically supporting nurses on the board, having previously acknowledged he would like to see other professions involved in decision making as well as GPs.
Nursing Times is pushing for all GP commissioning consortia boards to include at least one nurse, when they take over control of the bulk of NHS spending decisions from primary care trusts in 2013.
Mr Lansley said: “We’re not dictating what their [consortia] internal governance arrangements will look like.”
But when asked if he would like to see nurses sitting on the boards of consortia, he said: “Yes, of course.”
However, Mr Lansley said he expected this would happen anyway, without it needing to be prescribed by the government.
He said: “At a local level when I talk to commissioning consortia – as I’ve done in quite a number of places – it is always their expectation that they will involve nurses and other health professionals in their decision-making. That is how they run their practices and how they intend to run their commissioning consortia.”
Last month Royal College of Nursing general secretary and chief executive Peter Carter told MPs on the Commons health committee that it should be mandatory for nurses to sit on consortia boards, as not to do so would risk a worsening in NHS service quality will suffer and health inequalities (news, page 2, 15 February).
Nursing Times’ A Seat on the Board campaign wants at least one nurse to be included on each consortium board.