Chief nursing office for England Professor Jane Cummings has announced that she is to retire from her post later this year.
As part of the restructuring that will see NHS England and NHS Improvement merge, she has recommended that the next incumbent of the role should be the executive nurse lead for both organisations, but believes this will take ‘a commitment of several years to deliver this change’ and that it is ‘appropriate someone else take on this challenge’.
Professor Cummings was appointed as CNO for England in March 2012, overseeing national programmes such as the 6Cs and the publication of the 10-point plan for general practice nursing in July last year.
NHS England have declared that she will play ‘an instrumental role’ in the alignment of the two nursing teams across NHS England and NHS Improvement, as the two organisations merge into a single regime.
Professor Cummings said that it has been ‘an honour and a privilege’ to be the professional lead for nursing.
She said: ‘I am very proud to be a nurse and keen to encourage as many people as possible to join what are challenging but ultimately incredibly fulfilling and rewarding professions.
‘Over the next six months, my focus will be to support the alignment of the two nursing teams across NHS England and NHS Improvement.
‘In the South and London regions I have backed a single chief nurse leading for both NHS Improvement and NHS England. For some months I have argued that there should also be one nursing voice nationally and I hope the boards accept my recommendation that there should be a single chief nurse for both organisations.
‘To lead and deliver this change, will require a commitment of several years and following more than six years as Chief Nursing Officer and nearly 40 in the NHS, I feel it is appropriate that someone else should take on this challenge.’
It follows news last week that the chief executive of the NMC Jackie Smith will leave her role in July this year.