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Doctors’ leaders reject a motion ‘deploring’ comments by England's chief nurse

Doctors’ leaders yesterday rejected a motion to condemn England’s chief nurse for her public support of controversial government plans for the NHS, deeming the criticism too personal.
Jane_Cummings

Doctors leaders yesterday rejected a motion to condemn Englands chief nurse for her comments on controversial government plans for the NHS, deeming the criticism too personal.

Earlier this week, consultant Clive Peedell said he had proposed that a vote of no confidence against chief nursing officer (CNO) Jane Cummings be debated during the British Medical Association (BMA)s council meeting on Wednesday.

The proposal was linked to a newspaper article in which professor Cummings discussed controversial Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) for the future of care in England.

The BMA has previously voiced serious concerns about a lack of evidence for STPs, developed by the NHS and local councils in 44 areas.

Debate about the vote of no confidence was abandoned amid concerns it could be seen as too personal.

Instead, the council

Doctors’ leaders yesterday rejected a motion to condemn England’s chief nurse for her comments on controversial government plans for the NHS, deeming the criticism too personal.

Jane_Cummings
England’s chief nursing officer Jane Cummings. Picture: Barney Newman

Earlier this week, consultant Clive Peedell said he had proposed that a vote of no confidence against chief nursing officer (CNO) Jane Cummings be debated during the British Medical Association (BMA)’s council meeting on Wednesday.

The proposal was linked to a newspaper article in which professor Cummings discussed controversial Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) for the future of care in England.

The BMA has previously voiced ‘serious concerns’ about a lack of evidence for STPs, developed by the NHS and local councils in 44 areas.

Debate about the vote of no confidence was abandoned amid concerns it could be seen as too personal.

Instead, the council debated a different motion, also put forward by Dr Peedell, that it ‘deplored the CNO’s publicly stated support for STPs that are the mechanism to achieve £22 billion of NHS efficiency savings, which will plunge the NHS into further crisis and put public health at risk’.

This motion was also rejected following concerns by the BMA council that professor Cummings was ‘being singled out’, Dr Peedel said.

Deep concern

In a public Facebook post on Sunday, Dr Peedell said he thought professor Cummings’ comments suggest she supports the cutting the number of acute beds without extra investment in other services.

In a Telegraph article, professor Cummings was quoted as saying: ‘In Devon, the local NHS wants to invest in home-based care, but it struggles because resources are currently tied up in hospital beds.

‘Many patients stay in these beds for too long because home care is not available, often becoming more ill as a result.

‘With more care provided at home, the NHS can spend more cash on patients rather than maintaining old and expensive buildings.’

But NHS England said Dr Peedell’s interpretation of her comments was inaccurate.

Odd attack

England’s deputy CNO Hilary Garratt called Dr Peedell’s motion an ‘odd attack by a consultant on a nurse’.

Ms Garratt said: ‘To be honest, this is [a] bizarre motion that is factually inaccurate and suggests that he hasn’t even read the original article.

‘The published piece makes no reference whatsoever to cutting acute beds.

‘If Clive Peedell wishes to engage in a debate, he needs to do so on a factual basis.’

She added that Dr Peedell had been ‘systematically misrepresenting’ what was actually said.

Speaking to Nursing Standard, Dr Peedell, who is co-founder of National Health Action Party, said: ‘I can see how it was seen as a personal attack, but I didn't mean it that way.

‘I’m primarily concerned about the effect of £22 billion more cuts on patient care. I stand by my view that she was wrong to support STPs.’

Today, a BMA spokesperson said there is ‘deep concern’ among doctors about STPs, and ‘the billions of pounds in cuts that need to be made to health and social care in order to deliver them’.

‘The focus should be on a fully funded and resourced health and social care system, to ensure patients have access to the best care, in the right setting, without delay,’ the spokesperson added.


Further information:

Professor Cummings’ comments written for the Telegraph later appeared in full as a blog on the NHS website.

In other news:

Nurses urged to lobby MPs to attend NHS pay debate

New dementia clinic helps staff care for their loved ones

 

 

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