• Chief nursing officer announced £130,000 to develop nursing leaders in newly formed Primary Care Networks.
  • Tells QNI conference the system needs to rise to challenge and increase nursing pipeline.

The chief nurse of England Ruth May has announced new plans to strengthen nursing leadership in primary care networks and encouraged PCNs to appoint nurses as clinical directors.

Speaking at The Queen’s Nursing Institute conference in London chief nurse Ruth May announced £130,000 funding for the development of nursing leaders in the emerging 1,250 primary care networks.

Alongside the money, Mrs May also announced a new programme of support for nurses in PCNs, which would be delivered with the QNI and focus on leadership, strategy, finance and governance.

She told the conference: “My ask is of all of you in PCN, STPs and ICS to work together as leaders. We are investing over £130,000 in developing our nurse leaders of the future.

“Our first cohort of general practice nurses have begun the respected and bespoke Rosalind Franklin programme developing their future leadership potential for the system and equipping them with the tools to thrive and inspire rather than survive.

“We have our first ever GPN clinical directors across primary care networks. These 15 clinical directors are the trail blazers. They are key in ensuring nurses shape and lead across primary care…We will continue to invest in their development, the development of the role and the commitment for more PCNs to have nurses as their clinical director.”

She also announced a new care home nurses network, to ensure “every registered nurse feels part of the team” and stressed the “vital” need to focus on the supply of nurses and said the system “has to rise to that challenge”.

“We want to ensure access to places,” Mrs May said. “We have got over 7,500 additional clinical placements for this September but how do we convert these placements to new people?”.

“There need to be much more [student nurses] and we will work to do that,” she said.

Ms May described the government’s announcement of a £210m boost to NHS personal development budgets as “a start” and again stressed CPD funding “was and is a priority if we are going to keep nurses in the NHS”.

In response to the announcement, Alison Leary, professor of healthcare and workforce modelling at London South Bank University, said it was very welcome and recognised the contribution nurses in the community make.

“The care homes funding is also great and very much needed [as] nurses in this sector often work in isolation,” she said.