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The health service needs more nurses as leaders and NHS trust chiefs, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has said.
Speaking at the Chief Nursing Officer for England’s Summit yesterday, Mr Hancock said he believes nurses ‘are some of the best leaders within the NHS’.
The NHS needs more nurses as leaders and they should also lead NHS trusts, ‘inspiring others to aim higher, and empowering staff through empathetic leadership’, Mr Hancock said.
Nurses are often better leaders than doctors, he added, for the reason that they are aware that caring for staff is ‘mission-critical for caring for your patients’.
Mr Hancock said: ‘Great leaders know the importance of making everyone feel valued, making everyone feel part of the same team, with the same mission.
‘I’ve found that nurses are some of the best leaders within the NHS.’
The health secretary believes that hierarchy in the NHS is an obstacle that needs to be overcome, and said that ‘in some antiquated, archaic corners of the NHS’ nurses still have to stand up when a doctor enters a room.
He said: ‘I want it to stop. If anything, it should be doctors standing up for nurses. Because who runs a hospital at 2am in the morning?’
Mr Hancock welcomed NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens’s announcement on the first day of the Summit on revering cuts to CPD funds.
He said: ‘I’m delighted Simon set out that he’s going to do whatever it takes to restore CPD because it is vital to valuing and retaining our nursing staff.’
According to an NHS Providers report published in October 2018, only a third of NHS trust chief executives have a clinical background.
The report found that of 78 chief executives holding a clinical qualification, 63% trained as nurses, 19% as medical doctors, 4% as pharmacists and 11% as allied health professionals (AHPs).
Attracting more clinical expertise into leadership roles would have a positive impact on the NHS, the report concluded, as clinical staff have a deep understanding of what matters to patients, their relatives and staff.