Nurses on CCG governing boards have been found to improve health outcomes in their local areas according to a new report by the NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC).
It revealed how many CCGs are now employing a full-time chief or executive nurse with greater responsibilities for the day-to-day running of the CCG. It also shows that the role of governing body nurses has evolved with broader responsibilities and a full-time commitment to the CCG. Many nurses are now taking a more first-hand approach in commissioning local services, than was originally intended.
A series of case studies illustrated the impact that commissioning nurses have made in their local areas such as reducing rates of smoking in pregnancy, providing a voice for practice nurses and leading local service development.
NHSCC co-chair and chief clinical officer of Blackpool CCG Dr Amanda Doyle said: 'As the case studies in this report demonstrate, nurses on a CCG governing body are immensely important, playing a key role in driving the delivery of high-quality services, as well as acting as local leaders of the nursing profession. They provide a unique patient viewpoint while also bringing strategic clinical and practical insight into board level decision-making about how services can work better together for the benefit of their local people.'
The report also recommended how national organisations and CCGs can support the commissioning nurse through providing opportunites for support and development, making sure the nurse is given opportunities to meet with staff and setting realistic expectations in delivering outcomes.
Kathryn Yates, RCN professional lead for primary and community care, however, said that 'more consistency is needed to ensure that all areas can match the practice in the best, which seem to be places where senior nurses have been fully involved and is working at a high level to use their expertise and set a direction for the CCG, alongside medical and lay colleagues.
'What is clear from this report is that this is not the case everywhere, and indeed it is difficult to establish what arrangements are in place on all boards. Where the nurse role is tokenistic, it is difficult to get the same level of advice and guidance, so more consistency about the authority and nurse influence in key decision making is vital to improve care.”
Chief nursing officer for England, Jane Cummings welcomed the report which she said 'rightly highlights the valuable work of CCG nurses'.
'There are increasing opportunities for nurses to progress in leadership roles. Working together with NHS England, NHS Improvement and Health Education England, I am leading work to help us to support our next generation of leaders and this report highlights what a positive role nurses can have in CCGs,' she added.