NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) Nurses Forum has highlighted the benefits of including nurses in clinical commissioning group (CCG) governing bodies.
The report, The role of the nurse on the CCG governing body, found that since they were set up, nurses have taken on a variety of roles in CCGs.
While most were a member of the quality committee, 42% of nurses were also the chair of that committee.
Other nurses were found on CCG committees that look after primary care, performance, audits and remuneration.
Jim Connolly, chair of the NHSCC Nurses Forum and chief nurse and quality officer at Hardwick CCG, said: “We hope that this new report will not only showcase the positive impact that commissioning nurses are making, but will also help CCGs and national organisations to make sure that they are getting the most from the role.”
Through a series of case studies the report illustrates how commissioning nurses can make an impact locally, such as reducing rates of smoking in pregnancy, providing a voice for practice nurses and leading local service development.
Kathryn Yates, Royal College of nursing (RCN) professional lead for primary and community care, said: “Nurses care for patients through from diagnosis and are experts at managing complex conditions, so we are encouraged but not surprised to see that they are making such a meaningful difference when they are fully empowered to speak up for patients.
However, she called for more consistency to ensure that all areas can match the best practices, which she said, “seem to be places where senior nurses have been fully involved” and use their expertise to set a direction for the CCG.
She said: “What is clear from this report is that this is not the case everywhere, and indeed it is difficult to establish what arrangements are in place on all boards.
“They provide a unique patient viewpoint while also bringing strategic clinical and practical insight into board-level decision-making about how services can work better together for the benefit of their local people.”
As the first report of its kind, the document also recognises the important role the chief nursing officer has in acting as a national figurehead, bringing the nursing profession together.
This is particularly important for commissioning nurses, given the lack of recognition of the impact that they can have on the delivery of health and care for local populations.
Professor Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, said: “There are increasing opportunities for nurses to progress in leadership roles.
“Working together with NHS England, NHS Improvement and Health Education England, I am leading work to help us to support our next generation of leaders and this report highlights what a positive role nurses can have in CCGs.”
The report describes two groups of nurses involved with CCGs: executive nurses, who are fully involved with the day-to-day activity in the CCG, and registered independent nurses, who sit on the governing body in a lay capacity.
Both of these groups are considered to be commissioning nurses.