News that some CCGs authorised in the first wave by the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) do not yet have an executive nurse has been branded 'disappointing' by the RCN.
Only eight first wave CCGs were fully authorised in December, while 26 were authorised with conditions; up to seven of these lacked mandated board members.
RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: 'We are disappointed to see that some CCGs appear to have been authorised without the presence of anyone from the nursing profession on their board.
'While we realise this is a work in progress, this requirement has been known for quite some time. It is not just about the presence of qualified nurses. It is also about wider nursing involvement in commissioning and support at every level, so we can be assured that commissioning will be driven on a clinical basis.'
Former district nurse Lucy Botting, deputy director of clinical commissionin for Barnet NHS North Central London and executive nurse for Guildford and Waverley CCG, said the slow recruitment of executive nurses was due to a lack of candidates, rather than reluctance to involve nurses.
'I'm not sure if it's a marketing issue, if nurses do not understand the commissioning agenda or feel they do not have the skills,' she said.But she stressed groups were focusing on governance issues, rather than decisions about services, until April.
An NHSCB spokeswoman said: 'All CCGs will be reviewed again in March, when it is likely many in Wave 1 will be able to discharge conditions on their authorisation, including those still to recruit a nursing representative to their governing bodies. In the event a CCG is unable to fulfil this criterion ahead of April, the NHSCB will work with them to support recruitment.'