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Chief nursing officer releases “roadmap” for NHS England on workforce issues

The chief nursing officer in England has released her recommendations on efficiency, staffing, and career progression in nursing for Health Education England and NHS England.

Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer in England gave “roadmap” to address workforce issues in nursing for the coming year, at the request of Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, and Ian Cumming, chief executive of Health Education England.

In a letter to them both, she said that “the increasing cost, lack of continuity and less effective teamwork” caused by the use of staffing agencies can significantly impact patient care.

She said the whole health and care system must “improve its recruitment and retention, streamline international recruitment where necessary, offer flexible working opportunities to new and existing staff, and support staff in their roles.”

“For nursing and midwifery specifically, we will need to ensure appropriate use of e-rostering, target our workforce at the times of the day and week when they are most needed... and through the appropriate use of technology, administrative resource and other non-clinical colleagues, contact time can and should be improved,” she said.

“The support for career development of the critically important health and care assistant workforce has been sporadic and developed in local silos,” she said.

Meaningful career development needs to take proper account of prior experience, and reduce the time it takes for some staff to complete a graduate programme, “staffing levels should be based on the needs of patients, not on traditional professional and organisational boundaries,” Jane Cummings continued.