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Nursing post created after pressure from petition



The Department of Health is creating a nursing post to ensure officials know how policies affect nursing.

The Department of Health is creating a nursing-specific post, after a petition started by a nurse was signed by more than 10,000 people.

The Department of Health said the new post will concentrate on nursing and allied health professional (AHP) issues and parliamentary business.

The u-turn follows Royal College of Nursing member Deborah Glover’s petition click here to view  opposing DH plans to scrap the nursing directorate to help trim costs by 30 per cent over the next five years.

She said the unit gave “impartial advice” to the government.

She called for a rethink to save the directorate.

“Given that the Francis Report suggested that nursing has ‘a weak voice’ this move is counterintuitive,” she said.

Delegates to the RCN Congress in Glasgow this June  criticised the plans to close the directorate without public consultation.

The RCN  wrote to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about its concerns.

The RCN’s chief executive Janet Davies said: “Nursing leadership, at the highest levels, is the key to achieving the best possible health care in the UK.

‘Time and again, we’ve seen that when things go wrong for nursing, things also go wrong for patients.”

She added: “The nursing profession needs to have a strong voice in Government in order to prevent crises in care.”

“It’s positive that a new nursing post will form part of the new structure,” she said.

 DH said it created the post “to ensure that the importance and profile of nursing and allied health professional issues is maintained.”

Whoever gets the job will liaise with Chief Nursing Officer Professor Jane Cummings and the Chief AHP officer Suzanne Rastrick.

In a response to the petition DH said it is “absolutely committed to ensuring the voice of nursing, midwifery and AHPs is heard loud and clear in all our decision making.”

The new role is designed to make sure DH is aware of the impact of policy on nurses and AHPs.

Changes to the department mean it will get advice from a range of people including regulators, stakeholders and professional bodies instead of a team of internal advisers.

DH stressed that the chief nursing officer “has access to a strong, specialist nursing team.”