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DH's Director of Nursing appointed

Professor Viv Bennett has grabbed the top nursing post in public health.

A former Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, Professor Bennett has now been appointed the Director of Nursing in the Department of Health and the government's Principal Advisor on Public Health Nursing.

Professor Bennett's role, together with the as-yet unelected NHS Commissioning Board's Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), will replace the DH's CNO role.

"I am honoured and excited to have been given this opportunity," said Professor Bennett.

"As a nurse and a health visitor, I am passionate about the application of nursing and midwifery skills and knowledge to improving and protecting the public's health.

"I look forward to working with the professions, our partners and the people we serve to maximise this contribution to improving health and wellbeing."

Among other duties, Professor Bennett will be responsible for providing professional nurse leadership for public health nurses, midwives and health visitors and developing and extending the public health role of all nurses.

She will be ultimately accountable to the Director-General of Public Health within the DH.

"I am delighted that Viv is taking on this exciting and challenging role," said the DH's Permanent Secretary Una O'Brien.

"There is a great opportunity for Viv to establish and develop this role to strengthen the voice of nursing in public health and influence the future direction of public health in general."

Department of Health