The government has today appointed Professor Deborah Sturdy as the first chief nurse for adult social care in England.
Professor Sturdy has been appointed in an interim capacity for up to six months before the post is permanently filled in 2021.
She will represent social care nurses and provide clinical leadership to the workforce in the role, working closely with the minister for care and chief nursing officer.
The new role was announced in September as part of the government’s Covid-19 plan for social care, with recruitment beginning in October.
Professor Sturdy said: ‘I hope that in this role I will be able to give a voice to those working in social care and develop the workforce, through the difficult months ahead and beyond.’
She has held a variety of roles across both health and social care, including clinical practice, management, policy and research and will continue as director of health and wellbeing at Royal Hospital Chelsea in a part-time capacity.
Professor Sturdy has also worked on secondment for one day a week since February 2020 to the chief nursing officer as strategic advisor for social care nursing.
In her new role, she will engage with the frontline nursing workforce and ‘act as a champion’ for their interests in government, the Department of Health and Social Care said.
Minister for care Helen Whately: ‘This is a really important new role – supporting, leading and speaking up for social care and our fantastic care workers.
‘This year has shone a light on the commitment of carers across the country. Care staff and nurses have risen to the challenge of providing skilled, compassionate care in the face of the huge challenges of the pandemic.’
Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green said: ‘The appointment of Professor Deborah Sturdy marks an important milestone in the development of social care nursing.
‘Deborah has extensive experience in the independent sector as well as the NHS and I am confident that she will enable better understanding of social care nursing across the health and care system.’
In a blog for Nursing in Practice, care home owner George Coxon said the new role ‘could herald a new dawn in adult social care’.