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Nurse trainingJune 1 2016

A new report has highlighted how the role of nurse members of clinical commissioning group governing bodies has developed.

Many governing body nurses are now undertaking a role much wider than originally envisioned, NHS Clinical Commissioners has said. A survey of its Nurses Forum found that:

  • 84% were a member of the quality committee
  • 42% were also the chair
  • 71% were a member of the primary care committee
  • 58% were a member of the performance committee
  • 38% were a member of the audit committee
  • 26% were a member of the remuneration committee.

“Others were members of committees on prioritisation, end-of-life care, workforce and education, and also chaired ad hoc committees with a specific nursing perspective, such as serious incidents and provider quality,” it said.

The report also makes a number of recommendations for national organisations and CCGs, on how they can support the commissioning nurse. These include by:

  • providing opportunities for support and development, both locally and nationally;
  • making sure the nurse is given opportunities to meet regularly with staff at all levels across their area enabling them to accurately represent their views in commissioning decisions;
  • setting realistic expectations as to what should be delivered, both from nurses in a lay member role and those who are employed full-time as executive nurses.

Chair of the NHSCC Nurses Forum and Chief Nurse and Quality Officer, Hardwick CCG, Jim Connolly said: “This is the first report that recognises the importance of the role of the nurse on the CCG governing body and the value that they add to both commissioning decision making and system leadership.

“The report identifies how the role has expanded over time and shows how CCGs are taking different approaches to make sure that they are getting the maximum benefit from the expertise of their nurse locally.”

A series of case studies further illustrate the impact that commissioning nurses can make locally, for example by reducing smoking rates among pregnant women, or by providing a voice for practice nurses and leading local service development.

Professor Mayur Lakhani, chair of West Leicestershire CCG and a GP in Leicestershire, said that “having representation from nursing on the governing body of our CCG enhances all our decisions as commissioners. Nurses are on the front line of delivering patient care throughout the health system, whether in the community or in hospital, and they have an unparalleled depth of understanding of what quality, safe care looks like, and how we can provide care with compassion and dignity for patients.”

In a separate announcement, Health Education England has said that there has been wide support for the establishment of a new role of nursing associate. Over 1,000 responses to its consultation indicate there is “a real appetite for this role, which we firmly believe can provide a real benefit to the nursing and care workforce across a range of settings and play a key role in the delivery of patient care with safety at its heart,” said Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing and Deputy Director of Education and Quality, HEE.

Donna Kinnair, Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice at the Royal College of Nursing, added: “It’s clear that there were widely shared concerns that the nursing associate role could be used as a substitute for registered nurses, and it is positive to see that Health Education England has acknowledged this worry.”

Nursing associates will work alongside existing nursing care support workers and fully-qualified registered nurses to deliver hands-on care. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has noted “the strong support in principle for the NMC to regulate the new role.”

NMC Chief Executive and Registrar Jackie Smith commented: “We believe a final decision about regulation needs to be based on an evaluation of the proposed scope of practice for nursing associates; however, it is extremely positive that respondents clearly value independent regulatory standards.”

Links:

NHSCC announcement

NHSCC Nurses Forum

NHSCC Briefing ‘The role of the nurse on the CCG governing body‘

HEE announcement

RCN response

NMC response

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