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Practice nurse CCG training 'in development'

NHS North of England plans to launch a training programme at the end of the year to encourage its practice nurse community to link up to its CCG nurse.

Recognising the limitations being placed of practice nurses and their involvement in CCGs following guidance published by the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) legislating that a secondary care nurse must have a place on a CCG board, moves are being made to ensure practice nurses are not being left out of the loop.

Nurses in the North West of England have already been put through an assessment process testing for their eligibility as a CCG member after Hillary Garratt, Director of NHS Manchester PCT cluster noted a number of nurses were being placed on CCG boards as a 'tick box' exercise.

“We put people nurses through an assessment centre because it wouldn't be fair to put them on a board only to sink.

“As a Director, I can provide assurance I can place nurses who can thrive at a board level, whoever they choose out of the pool we now have.”

Garratt said she was “surprised” practice nurses were being “stuck” on CCG boards and “left to drown” pre NHS CB guidance.

“Following our self-assessment process, most practice nurses realised themselves they hadn't the experience or exposure needed for a CCG role,” she said.

Garratt hopes an unnamed programme targeted towards practice nurses will serve to “unleash” their through the appointed CCG nurse.

“We are going through a process of connecting with practice nurses and identifying what they need,” she says.

“We expect the creation of the programme to be towards the end of the year.”

NHS London also plans to launch a 'leadership programme' in September 2012 in a bid to educate practice nurses on the wider commissioning landscape.

Participants will be drawn from practice and community nursing, health visitors, allied health professionals and healthcare scientist staff groups.

“Clinical commissioning must involve doctors, nurses and all clinicians who will play a direct role in commissioning as well as those who will need to influence CCGs,” said a spokesperson from NHS London.  

“Nurses were able to attend our leadership master classes, and we are also setting up profession- and pathway-specific networks which will require strong nursing involvement.

“We will accommodate no less than 60 participants - approximately two per CCG. We will accommodate more if resources allow.
“At the end of the programme, we hope that participants will have a broad understanding of clinical commissioning; know what the QIPP challenge means for London; and understand the critical role of clinical leadership in bringing about change to improve services for patients.”

A spokesperson from NHS Midlands and East said it is “too early” to say how CCG training and support “packages” will look but acknowledged the need to properly equip CCG clinicians and nurses with the right skill mix to succeed.

NHS South of England SHA cluster did not reply to Nursing in Practiceat the time of going to press.