Nurses have 'critical' role on CCG governing bodies

New report reveals 'critical' impact of commissioning nurses

Nurses need to be seen as more than ‘tokenistic’ members of clinical commissioning group (CCG) governing bodies, the RCN has said.

Every CCG in England is required to have at least one registered nurse on its governing body to offer an alternative view on service delivery.

Now a report from NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC), which represents CCGs in England, highlights the ‘critical’ role commissioning nurses play on governing bodies.

While the way CCGs have chosen to develop the role ‘varies considerably’, some have gone beyond the statutory requirement and now employ full-time chief or executive nurses responsible for aspects of day-to-day running of the organisation, the report adds.

The RCN previously campaigned for a nurse presence to be a statutory requirement on CCG governing bodies.

RCN professional lead for primary and community care Kathryn Yates said that while the report highlighted areas of good practice, more consistency was needed so nurses are able to use their expertise to set the direction for the CCG.

She added: ‘Where the nurse role is tokenistic, it is difficult to get the same level of advice and guidance, so more consistency about the authority and nurse influence in key decision making is vital to improve care.'

A series of case studies in the NHSCC report revealed how commissioning nurses are making a difference, including reducing rates of smoking in pregnancy and setting up a council for practice nurses.

A survey of 41 members of the NHSCC nurses forum, which represents nurses on CCG governing bodies, found 84% were members of the quality committee, with 42% also the chair.

Some 71% were members of their CCG’s primary care committee, 58% were members of the performance committee, and 38% were members of the audit committee.

Jim Connolly, quality officer for Harwick CCG and chair of the NHSCC nurses forum, said: ‘We hope this report will not only showcase the positive impact commissioning nurses are making, but will also help CCGs and national organisations to make sure that they are getting the most from the role.’

Further information: 

NHSCC report