England’s Chief Nurse looks to the future

Professor Jane Cummings calls on the country’s nursing and midwifery staff to take a leading role as the NHS adapts to meet the needs of today’s population.

Speaking to the country’s most senior nursing, midwifery and care leaders, Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England (CNO), will today outline the challenges the profession will face over the next five years.

At her fifth CNO Summit in Birmingham, Professor Cummings will also reflect on her time as England’s CNO, highlighting successes including the launch of ‘Compassion in Practice’ and ‘Leading Change, Adding Value’, as well as promoting the value of diversity and developing new leaders.

The CNO Summit is an annual event bringing together the most senior nursing, midwifery and care leaders from across England to discuss some of the key issues affecting how care is delivered and to collectively design the future health and care system.

Opening the Summit, she will tell delegates that by 2020 there will be a million more people over 65, 7000 people over 100 years old and two out of three babies born today will live until they are 100.

She will say: “If we value our remarkable NHS, then we need to reshape it for a population size and age profile it wasn’t designed to deal with.”

On the challenge of resources, she will say: “We can be proud of how the NHS has coped over the winter and in recent times. Working with tight resources has required tenacity and flexibility which I have seen on the front line.

“I do continue to be inspired by the leadership and innovation that continues despite the pressures – our profession focuses on the safety and experience of people like no other.

“Demand is rising and budgets continue to be tight, every penny and resource has to count.

“When it comes to commissioning and providing services, Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are the best way for us to demonstrate real leadership and focus on doing the right things that deliver safety and the Triple Aim of good care, improved health, and lower cost.”

On the challenges of Brexit she will say: “For as long as there has been a National Health Service, there have been nurses from other countries and we have rightly celebrated the contribution of the 40,000 nurses who came from the Commonwealth to answer Aneurin Bevan’s call.

“Today, around 4% of nurses and midwives in the NHS are from European Union (EU) countries.

“Colleagues from the EU face an uncertain future in coming months. They will need our support. They help represent the communities we care for and we will continue to make them feel welcome.”

On the image and pride of nursing and midwifery, she will say: “The way nursing and midwifery is seen, portrayed in the media and popular culture affects how we feel as individuals and as a collective. It affects how the public and other professions also see us.

“It also has an influence on how successful we are at attracting the best, retaining the best and being the best we can be, at the top of our game.

“I want to build on the fact that 93% of the population trust nurses, higher scores than any other profession. This is a testament to your dedication, your hard work.

“Our standing as a profession should reflect this stratospheric level of public support, and so should our status.”