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Nurses must be ‘fully engaged’ in commissioning

30 November 2011

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Failing to put nurses at the heart of clinical commissioning will risk realising the potential of the Health Bill.

The NHS Alliance’s Nurse in Commissioning Network is urging government ministers to take “active steps” to ensure clinically-led commissioning reflects a “multi-professional approach”.

Its report Involving Nurses in Commissioning: How to Get it Right and Nurses and the Wider Public Health Agenda says nurses must be “fully empowered” and “engaged” in both clinical commissioning and health care delivery.

Nurses have a massive contribution to make. They are already at the forefront of delivering health improvement whether as specialist public health practitioners or as part of everyday care,” said Ursula Gallagher, Lead for Nurses in Commissioning Network.

“It will not be possible for the NHS to realise its full potential in terms of health care improvement for patients without creating mechanisms that allow nurses to be fully involved.”

Nurses have a “pivotal role” in voicing the patient perspective, which is needed to inform commissioning decisions, it is claimed.

The report comes as MiP learnt of the widespread problem of GPs appointing “unsuitable” and “inexperienced” nurses to CCGs in a ‘tokenistic’ gesture.

Paul Vaughan, Regional Director of the West Midlands at the Royal College of Nursing told MiP that electing the wrong nurses into CCGs risks quality commissioning, bad decision making and a danger that the patient voice will be “lost”.

He said the expectation for nurses to “step up to the plate” to perform a completely different role at a different level is a “step too far”.

“SHAs are too focused on training GPs for commissioning roles and have forgotten all about nurses,” said Vaughan.

“Nurses have had to fight much harder than GPs to get to this position and they are not being extended the same courtesy in education deliverance.”