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Chief nursing officer for England to retire ‘later this year’

Chief nursing officer for England to retire ‘later this year’
Dame Ruth May

The chief nursing officer (CNO) for England, Dame Ruth May, will retire this year after five years in post.

In a social media post this afternoon, Dame Ruth said her role as CNO had ‘undoubtedly’ been ‘the highlight’ of her almost 40-year career.

Dame Ruth, who was appointed CNO in 2019, recognised the challenges that had faced the health service in recent years and said that together nursing staff have ‘achieved so much’.

Writing on X, she said: ‘Today, after five years as CNO for England and a career in the NHS for almost 40 years, I have announced that I will be retiring later this year.

‘My role as CNO has, undoubtedly, been the highlight of my career in the NHS and has been a privilege.’

She added: ‘Throughout this time, I have had the honour of caring for patients and worked alongside fantastic colleagues.

‘Although recent years have been the most challenging for the NHS, nurses, midwives, nursing associates and health and care support staff have together achieved so much.

‘I am and will always be proud to be a nurse.’

Previously, Dame Ruth was director of nursing at NHS Improvement and has also held regional and trust leadership roles during her career.

In June 2022, she was awarded a Damehood, as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Honours, for her services to nursing, midwifery and the NHS.

The news of Dame Ruth’s departure comes as CNO for Scotland Professor Alex McMahon is due to retire in April.

Anne Armstrong, who is currently deputy CNO in Scotland, will replace Professor McMahon on an in interim basis from Friday 26 April.

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