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Unions welcome plan for new nursing post in Department of Health

The Department of Health has said it will create its own nursing adviser post after scrapping its team of nursing, midwifery and allied health professional experts.
Department of Health

The Department of Health (DH) has said it will create its own nursing adviser post after scrapping its team of nursing, midwifery and allied health professional experts.

Unions have welcomed the DHs plan for its own nursing adviser, announced just months after it controversially scrapped its nursing policy unit.

The DH confirmed in June that it was cutting its Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Policy Unit as part of wider job losses in the department.

The loss of the advisers was described as deplorable by the International Council of Nurses.

Petition

A petition to oppose the move was set up by journalist and registered nurse Deborah Glover, who was made an MBE for services to nursing this year. The petition has been

The Department of Health (DH) has said it will create its own nursing adviser post after scrapping its team of nursing, midwifery and allied health professional experts.

Unions have welcomed the DH’s plan for its own nursing adviser, announced just months after it controversially scrapped its nursing policy unit.

The DH confirmed in June that it was cutting its Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Policy Unit as part of wider job losses in the department.

The loss of the advisers was described as ‘deplorable’ by the International Council of Nurses.

Petition

A petition to oppose the move was set up by journalist and registered nurse Deborah Glover, who was made an MBE for services to nursing this year. The petition has been signed by more than 10,000 people.

In response, the DH has said it will create a post covering nursing and allied health professional (AHP) policy issues, including parliamentary business.

The DH response said: ‘This new post will be a close liaison point with the chief nursing officer [for England, Jane Cummings] and chief AHP officer, with a remit to ensure DH is sighted on the totality of policy as it affects nurses and AHPs.’

Professor Cummings will remain the chief nursing adviser to the department, but the DH told Nursing Standard the new post will be open to any official to apply.

Leadership

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said nursing leadership at the highest levels is key to achieving the best possible health care.

She added: ‘Time and time again we have seen that, when things go wrong for nursing, things also go wrong for patients. The nursing profession needs a strong voice in government to prevent crises in care. 

‘We look forward to working together with the DH to ensure that the nursing profession is at the centre of designing policy that affects patient care.’

Distinct voice

Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: 'Scrapping the nursing directorate in the department of health is a mistake so we welcome the acknowledgement that there must be a distinct voice for nursing at the highest level.

‘Nursing is critical to the health service, and it is vital the government ensures the profession is at the heart of NHS policy and the future of patient care.’

The DH said in its response to the petition that, in addition to the nursing post, it will seek professional advice from a wide range of sources, including arms-length bodies, regulators, stakeholders and professional bodies, rather than from a fixed standing team of internal advisers. 


Further information

Petition calls for u-turn on advisers

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