NHS England will fund new recruitment campaign, says chief nurse

National campaign will begin later this year, RCNi’s Cancer Nursing Practice conference 2018 hears

The chief nursing officer for England has confirmed funding for a nationwide nurse recruitment campaign that will take place later this year.

Professor Cummings said the Department of Health and Social Care will work with
NHS England on the recruitment campaign.  Picture: John Houlihan

Making the announcement in her keynote speech at RCNi’s Cancer Nursing Practice conference 2018 in Birmingham today, Jane Cummings said: ‘I can’t say much at this stage, but I have got the funding from NHS England and we will be working together with the Department of Health and Social Care and Health Education England to run a campaign later this year.

‘It is the first time we’ve done that for a long time.’

Though she did not provide any specific details of the campaign, she said it fulfilled her pledge made at the CNO Summit in March to obtain funding from NHS England for such a campaign. 

In March, NHS England said the campaign would look at the ‘wide-ranging career opportunities in the 21st century NHS in a drive to recruit and retain more nurses and midwives’.

Talking about the need for more staff

She also spoke of Health Education England's workforce strategy which is being published this summer.

Professor Cummings, who is a trustee for Macmillan Cancer Support and a specialist emergency care nurse, said when she became CNO in 2012 she ‘talked about wanting to increase the number of nurses’.

'I think I was the first in a long time to stick my head above the parapet to talk about the need for more staff,’ she told the conference.

Professor Cummings also made a rare reference to her husband Chris, who died in 2006 following a relapse of leukaemia.

‘The support we got from cancer nurse specialists at the time was phenomenal,’ she said. ‘I was so impressed by the amount of support, advice, and the help we got to get Chris home where he wanted to be.

‘I’ve got nothing but praise and pride for what you all do. That is why I’m a trustee of Macmillan and why I’m so passionate about the impact you have.’

Patients’ experience

The annual conference brings together specialist cancer nurses from across the UK.

This year’s theme is ‘Living With and Beyond Cancer’, with lectures covering the future of the cancer nursing workforce, patients’ experience of living with cancer, and optimising the acute oncology pathway.

Speakers include University of Stirling associate professor of cancer nursing Susanne Cruickshank, Macmillan Survivorship Network manager Ben Heyworth, and Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust living with and beyond cancer nurse consultant Natalie Doyle.

RCNi Cancer Nursing Practice editor Jennifer Sprinks will chair an afternoon session on supporting patients following a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer.

Follow today’s events via Twitter using #cancernursing

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