Government appoints first Chief Nurse for adult social care


Social care nurses in England will soon benefit from the leadership and advice of the first Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care.

Professor Deborah Sturdy OBE was appointed today will take up the new role on December 21 to represent social care nurses and provide clinical leadership to the workforce through the winter months. 

She will work closely with the Minister for Care and the Chief Nursing Officer in this important role to ensure the provision of high quality, personalised, joined up care. 

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The Department of Health and Social Care said the Chief Nurse will act as an “inspiring leader” for social care nursing and help develop social care policy and how it relates to the workforce.

Minister for Care, Helen Whately said: “I’m delighted to welcome Deborah Sturdy as our first Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care.

“This is a really important new role – supporting, leading and speaking up for social care and our fantastic care workers.

“This year has shone a light on the commitment of carers across the country. Care staff and nurses have risen to the challenge of providing skilled, compassionate care in the face of the huge challenges of the pandemic.

“The appointment of a Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care is another step towards giving carers the support and recognition they absolutely deserve.”

The role is an interim appointment for up to six months, to further increase the professional support and expertise in the department over winter ahead of filling the post on a more permanent basis in 2021, the government said.

Professor Sturdy has had a long career in nursing, including working with older people and people living with dementia. Since February 2020, Professor Sturdy has worked on secondment for one day a week to the Chief Nursing Officer as strategic advisor for social care nursing.

She has also provided nursing advice to the Gosport Independent Panel, set up to address concerns about the care of residents in Gosport War Memorial Hospital. Before this, Professor Sturdy was employed as Professional Nursing Advisor at the DHSC between 2000 and 2011.

Commenting on the role, Professor Sturdy said: “I am honoured to have been asked to help define a new narrative for social care nursing and support colleagues to find their voice, and contribute to the development of the workforce in the coming months and work together to deliver the best care possible.

“The social care nursing and care workforce together are a powerful force to help shape and deliver the health and social care agenda. I hope that in this role I will be able to give a voice to those working in social care and develop the workforce, through the difficult months ahead and beyond.”

Prof Sturdy has held numerous roles across both health and social care, including clinical practice, management, policy and research and will continue her role as Director of Health and Wellbeing at Royal Hospital Chelsea in a part time capacity. 

One of her main tasks will be to engage with the frontline nursing workforce to listen to their views and act as a champion for their interests in government, and the sector. She will also be promoting and raising standards for the social care nursing and wider workforce and working with our national and regional partners to celebrate success.

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Sarah Clarke

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