Milburn hands greater management role to senior nurses

Senior
nurses are to be given more budgetary and staffing control over their
departments in a new move by the NHS.

Health
Secretary Alan Milburn announced that he was giving more autonomy to senior
ward sisters who will now have a greater role in managing staff. They will have
more power to plan rosters and shift patterns and to assess the need for agency
nurses.

Milburn
said that the move was part of a wider culture of public sector enterprise in
the NHS and that frontline staff were best placed to decide how money should be
spent.

"Ward
sisters and charge nurses are best placed to know the day-to-day needs of
patients and the hour-by-hour demands on staff. It is because they understand
that they should be in control," he said.

"Decentralisation
must take hold in all parts of the NHS. I want to see a culture of public
sector enterprise to rival the spirit of private sector enterprise," he
added.

Ward
sisters will now decide on the mix of grades and skills needed on each ward,
which in turn will allow them to maximise the amount of time spent with
patients.

Milburn
also announced plans to develop more nurses as leaders after figures showed
that only half of nursing directors were being interviewed for chief executive
posts.

www.doh.gov.uk

By Ross Wigham

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