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Commissioning nurses need 'more support'

Commissioning nurses need 'more support'


Exclusive Although commissioning nurse leaders feel confident in their roles, the majority need more support and guidance, a survey has revealed. 

The survey, shown exclusively to The Commissioning Review, reveals that many commissioning nurse leaders (91%) are fairly or completely confident in their role. 

When asked to expand on how they feel, many commissioning nurse leaders (CNLs) said they needed “more time to undertake the complexities of the role”. 

The research was conducted by the National Network of Commissioning Nurse Leaders (NNCNL), which was developed by NHS England in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing.  

The network consists of directors of nursing at area team level, clinical commissioning group (CCG) governing body nurses and commissioning support unit directors of nursing. 

According to NHS England, the network “aims to support commissioning nurse leaders to fulfil their function within the commissioning system and embed Compassion in Practice”.  

Many CNLs said that more support and guidance is needed to ensure that each nurse has the right skills to carry out such an important role. 

Michelle Mello, NHS England’s head of nurse commissioning told The Commissioning Review: "The survey highlights that nurse leaders feel confident in their roles but we recognise that more could be done to support them. This is why NHS England, in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing, has created the only national network for senior nurse commissioners.

"Commissioning nurse leaders have a vital role to play in the clinical commissioning system to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients, carers, communities and the public. NHS England is committed to support CNLs through the network, by providing opportunities to share, learn and develop leadership and commissioning skills.

“Importantly this will enhance professional engagement between front line clinicians and NHS England, raise the profile and leadership skills of nurse commissioners and enable the embedding of Compassion in Practice and 6Cs.”


Angela Dempsey, an NNCNL member and Enfield CCG registered governing body nurse worked with Mello to create a summary of the report.  

She said: “The survey did highlight that these leaders would like to see a commitment from NHS England to support them in this demanding role. 

“Many of the respondents requested a CCG Commissioning Nurse Network culminating in an annual conference. Others requested improved regional networks for peer support, network opportunities and mentorship.” 

More than 85% of CNLs felt “overwhelmingly positive” that they could influence the quality agenda in their local area. 

Many CNLs (24%) reported that a lack of clarity around their responsibilities was their biggest challenge, with 19% believing that the capacity to cover such a broad challenge within the time restraints was their biggest challenge. 

Dempsey said the survey results have been “enlightening”. 

She said: “There are key messages within this survey that NHS England can now use as a vehicle to ensure that this pivotal role and these nurse leaders are supported to ensure that they can make these roles successful. 

“NHS England has already identified that more research into the CNL role will be carried out with a specific focus on the impact that it may have upon strengthening leadership within the CCG and the NHS.” 


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