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NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) Nurses Forum has highlighted the benefits of including nurses in clinical commissioning group (CCG) governing bodies.
The report, The role of the nurse on the CCG governing body, found that since they were set up, nurses have taken on a variety of roles in CCGs.
While most were a member of the quality committee, 42% of nurses were also the chair of that committee.
Other nurses were found on CCG committees that look after primary care, performance, audits and remuneration.
Jim Connolly, chair of the NHSCC Nurses Forum and chief nurse and quality officer at Hardwick CCG, said: “We hope that this new report will not only showcase the positive impact that commissioning nurses are making, but will also help CCGs and national organisations to make sure that they are getting the most from the role.”
The report describes two groups of nurses involved with CCGs: executive nurses, who are fully involved with the day-to-day activity in the CCG, and registered independent nurses, who sit on the governing body in a lay capacity.
Both of these groups are considered to be commissioning nurses.
For CCGs to get the most out of their commissioning nurses, the briefing suggests they set realistic expectations of their independent nurses to allow them to tend to outside responsibilities.
Meanwhile, CCGs should encourage their executive nurse to develop a wide knowledge of the local area and population, as well as the operation of CCG itself.
The briefing also calls for a wider understanding of the role of commissioning nurses, in particular from NHS England, which the report said should create a national formal supportive programme for them.
Through a series of case studies the report illustrates how commissioning nurses can make an impact locally, such as reducing rates of smoking in pregnancy, providing a voice for practice nurses and leading local service development.
Dr Amanda Doyle, NHSCC co-chair and chief clinical officer of Blackpool CCG, said: “As the case studies in this report demonstrate, nurses on a CCG governing body are immensely important, playing a key role in driving the delivery of high-quality services, as well as acting as local leaders of the nursing profession.
“They provide a unique patient viewpoint while also bringing strategic clinical and practical insight into board-level decision-making about how services can work better together for the benefit of their local people.”