News

High numbers of female chief nurses, but more women needed at NHS board level, study shows

Report calls for an additional 500 female-held NHS board seats by 2020.
Women in the boardroom

Researchers have highlighted a high percentage of women in chief nurse posts but questioned the dearth of women in other key roles on NHS boards.

A report, NHS Women on Boards 50:50 by 2020, by the University of Exeter Business School with support from NHS Employers, is calling for an additional 500 female-held board seats in less than three years.

Representation of women at board level varied widely across a total of 452 organisations in the study, which included arms-length bodies (ALBs), NHS trusts, and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). Figures ranged from 8.3% to 80%, with an average of 41%.

Disapointingly low numbers of women directors

Researchers found that 85% of chief nurses were women which reflected the make-up of the nursing population, but said the figures for chief finance officers and medical directors were disappointingly low at 26% and

Researchers have highlighted a high percentage of women in chief nurse posts but questioned the dearth of women in other key roles on NHS boards.


Picture: iStock

A report, NHS Women on Boards 50:50 by 2020, by the University of Exeter Business School with support from NHS Employers, is calling for an additional 500 female-held board seats in less than three years.

Representation of women at board level varied widely across a total of 452 organisations in the study, which included arms-length bodies (ALBs), NHS trusts, and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). Figures ranged from 8.3% to 80%, with an average of 41%.

‘Disapointingly low’ numbers of women directors

Researchers found that 85% of chief nurses were women which reflected the make-up of the nursing population, but said the figures for chief finance officers and medical directors were ‘disappointingly low’ at 26% and 25%.

The overall number of women holding seats needs to increase from 2,500 to 3,000 between now and the end of 2020, according to the report, which showed the proportion of women on boards across NHS trusts was 42.6%, with 39.5% on CCG boards and 38.3% for ALBs.

Equal role for women in the NHS

Author of the report and University of Exeter Business School associate professor of organisation studies Ruth Sealy said women make up 77% of the workforce across the NHS.

‘The will is there to make sure women are really playing an equal role running the NHS. But now may be the time for people to start getting impatient if they are to meet the target of gender-balanced boards by the 2020 deadline.’

Read the report here 


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs