England’s chief nurse says NHS ‘trumps every healthcare system in the world’

Jane Cummings used her summit speech to promote a new nursing recruitment campaign

The NHS ‘trumps every healthcare system in the world, including America’, England’s chief nurse said in a speech that signals the start of a nursing recruitment and retention campaign.

Chief nursing officer for England Jane Cummings. Picture: Tim George

Jane Cummings also outlined plans to protect the ‘nurse’ title in the UK, and officially launched a challenge to get more patients moving and changing out of their pyjamas into day clothes during hospital stays – as part of the End PJ Paralysis campaign.

Speaking at the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for England’s summit in Liverpool today, Professor Cummings outlined plans to boost the reputation of nursing and the NHS. She made reference to a recent tweet by the US president Donald Trump who said the NHS was 'going broke' and 'not working'. He had mistook a rally for more NHS funding as a protest to overhaul the system.

Championing the health service

Celebrating the 70th year of the NHS, Professor Cummings said: ‘It is 70 years since the fear of the doctor’s or hospital bill was banished from the hearts of the poor and disadvantaged.

‘I think, and I’m sure you’ll agree, that the NHS pretty much trumps every other system in the world, including America. I will probably get a personal tweet back now, criticising me.’

In a wide-ranging speech at the summit, she said the chief nursing officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would be working to make sure only nurses registered with a professional body are able to use ‘nurse’ in their job titles.

The CNO also touched on issues such as black and minority ethnic (BME) representation, bullying and Brexit.

‘Millions of men and women have come to our country to provide nursing and midwifery care and it’s something we should value and celebrate,' Professor Cummings said.

‘The NHS is built on the back of people from overseas and always has been since 1948.’

She said there needs to be a focus on what can be done to help BME people progress in the profession. 

Ambassadors will help to promote nursing

Listening to her speech via video link in a nearby hotel were 165 nurse and midwifery ambassadors, who were meeting to discuss ways to promote entering the profession. They plan to visit four schools in Liverpool tomorrow to speak to students about future careers in nursing.

The ambassadors are part of a new recruitment drive by the CNO to improve perceptions of nursing.

Further information

Read the CNO summit programme

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