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Jane Cummings to step down as Chief Nurse for England

She will be retiring from the role of Chief Nursing Officer for England after more than six years in the role.



Chief Nursing Officer
NHS England

England’s Chief Nurse has announced that she will be retiring after six years in the role.

Professor Jane Cummings has announced that she will be retiring from the role of Chief Nursing Officer for England after more than six years in the role, and nearly 40 working in the NHS.

She has recommended to the Board that the Chief Nursing Officer should be the executive nurse lead for both NHS England and NHS Improvement as organisations move towards greater alignment.


Jane was appointed as chief nursing officer for England in March 2012, taking on the professional lead for nursing and midwifery in England. She is also NHS England’s lead executive director for learning disabilities; maternity; equality and diversity; and patient participation and experience. Since September 2017, Jane has also been NHS England’s regional director in London.

The 6C’s

Over her tenure, Jane has delivered a series of important national programmes including the ‘6Cs’, Compassion in Practice and Leading Change, Adding Value, the current national framework for nursing, midwifery and care staff. Earlier this year Jane announced a major national nursing recruitment campaign to launch this summer as the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday.

She will play an instrumental role in supporting the alignment of the two nursing teams across NHS England and NHS Improvement over the next six months.

Professor Jane Cummings, said: “I believe passionately in nursing and midwifery and that the professions and the NHS benefit if we speak with one voice. In the South and London regions I have backed a single chief nurse leading for both NHS Improvement and NHS England. For some months I have argued that there should also be one nursing voice nationally and I hope the boards accept my recommendation that there should be a single chief nurse for both organisations.

“To lead and deliver this change, will require a commitment of several years and following more than six years as Chief Nursing Officer and nearly 40 in the NHS,  I feel it is appropriate that someone else should take on this challenge.

“It has been an honour and privilege to be the professional lead for over 500,000 nurses and midwives who make an incredible difference to people when they need it most.

“I am very proud to be a nurse and keen to encourage as many people as possible to join what are challenging but ultimately incredibly fulfilling and rewarding professions.

“Over the next six months, my focus will be to support the alignment of the two nursing teams across NHS England and NHS Improvement and lead the celebrations for the NHS in its 70th year. I will also launch the biggest recruitment campaign for new nurses for many years.

“We have so much to be proud of as the most trusted profession by the public, with improvements to compassion in the care we provide reflected by the patient survey and now over 400 ambassadors promoting our fantastic careers across the country.

“I am grateful to have had such a varied and interesting career to date. I have had the opportunity to work with many talented and inspiring people and most recently with those committed to improving healthcare across London.

“I look forward to continuing to support the NHS, our values, our staff and those we care for.”

She created new routes into Nursing.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England said: “Jane is a passionate advocate for nursing and midwifery, who has done so much to ensure the voice of nurses is heard loud and clear across the health service. Her personal leadership has helped the NHS create new routes into nursing, safer maternity care, more personalised support for people with learning disabilities, and above all a renewed focus on compassionate high quality care. As we approach the 70th anniversary of the NHS’s foundation, it is Jane who has initiated what is about to be the largest nurse recruitment campaign in recent times.”

Sir Malcolm Grant, NHS England Chair, said: “Jane has demonstrated all the qualities required of a great chief nursing officer.  She brought to the role her own extensive experience as a nurse, then built on it with energy and emotional intelligence to provide real leadership to the nursing and midwifery professions across the NHS in England, while also making major contributions to the business of NHS England. Her achievements will long outlast her six year tenure.”



Nursing vacancies hit record high leaving patient care at risk

It can be “dangerous” when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care.



Patient Falls Risk with IV

There are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone.

NHS figures show that there are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The College says a global shortage of nurses alongside the removal of the nursing bursary has compounded this figure which now sees 12% of posts through the NHS in England without a full-time Registered Nurse.


Figures from the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) show a 29% overall decline in applications to undergraduate courses since 2015, when the bursary was cut by the Government.

In a report released today titled ‘Standing up for patient and public safety’, the Royal College of Nursing outlines the evidence of the need for a new law that allocates specific legal responsibilities for workforce planning and supply.

A new law is needed.

The report states that in order to address the record number of vacancies, and the gap between the numbers of health and care staff needed to deliver patient care vs. how many are in the system.

Figures included in the report reveal that the number of nursing staff has consistently failed to keep up with the dramatic rise in demand for services and the number of emergency admissions.

The report finally makes a further call for legal clarity on the roles, responsibilities, as well as accountabilities, for workforce planning and supply.

In September, after pressure from RCN members, NHS England and NHS Improvement asked the Government for clarity over who is accountable for the nursing workforce.

‘Nurses are working harder than ever’.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “Nurses are working harder than ever to deliver safe patient care but are being held back by a system that is legally lacking teeth. Despite the public, patients and nurses all agreeing that clarity is needed on responsibilities for delivering enough nurses, we have yet to see any government pledge anything of the like, and as a result are staring down the barrel at a record 43k empty nursing posts.

“We know how dangerous it can be when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care, but at present, almost all accountability rests with the frontline nurse working on the understaffed ward, rather than those responsible for the system they work in.

“We believe the time has come for change and that patient care was future-proofed by law, and that from the government down, decision makers are held to account.

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NHS calls for clarity on who is accountable for the nursing workforce

Figures suggest there are around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies throughout the NHS in England.



Working nurses in the CCU

Healthcare leaders are calling for legislation to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have called on the Government to clarify who is accountable for the nursing workforce and the chronic problems it’s currently facing.

Following ongoing pressure from nursing unions, the two organisations met today and recommend that the government should “revisit with partners whether national responsibilities and duties in relation to workforce functions are sufficiently clear.”


With around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in the NHS in England and thousands more throughout social care, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) believes the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care should be legally accountable for the workforce.

Along with other health care leaders, Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN, written to the Government calling for the legislation proposed by NHS England and NHS Improvement to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

Staff shortages have reached ‘alarming levels’.

Responding to the news, Dame Donna Kinnair said: “We are pleased that NHS England and NHS Improvement has recognised the concerns of RCN members and the public and has stated that the issue of accountability for workforce planning and supply remains an area that needs be resolved.”

“In the week after we have launched a major public facing campaign calling for investment in the nursing workforce as well as for accountability to be clarified in the law, yet again, the case is made for this to be taken seriously.

“We are clear that government is well placed to determine how accountability can be clarified in law.

Adding; “Staff shortages have reached alarming levels with at least 40,000 vacant registered nurse posts in the NHS in England alone with thousands more vacancies in public health and social care.

“We now hope government will listen to this message, as well as the voices of the thousands of members that responded to the NHS England engagement process, and bring forward this legislation, taking the opportunity to include accountability in government and throughout the health and care system, for workforce planning and supply.”

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