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Chief Nursing Officer for England to Retire ‘Later This Year’

Chief Nursing Officer for England to Retire ‘Later This Year’

Dame Ruth May, the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for England, has announced her retirement later this year, marking the end of an illustrious career spanning decades in healthcare leadership.

Having assumed the CNO position in 2019, Dame Ruth has been a stalwart figure in the nursing community, overseeing pivotal moments and driving significant changes within the National Health Service (NHS).

In a statement yesterday, Dame Ruth expressed gratitude for the privilege of serving as CNO, citing it as the highlight of her NHS career. Her tenure, however, has been characterised by notable achievements and challenges, including the unprecedented demands brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Dame Ruth’s leadership, nursing, midwifery, and care professions mobilised to combat the pandemic, showcasing resilience and dedication in the face of adversity. Her efforts were recognised with the prestigious Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) award in 2022 for her contributions to nursing, midwifery, and the NHS.

Furthermore, Dame Ruth played a pivotal role in achieving the government’s target of recruiting an additional 50,000 registered nurses in England, fulfilling a commitment outlined in the 2019 election manifesto. She also spearheaded the development of a visionary strategy aimed at inspiring a new direction for nursing and midwifery across all settings.

Throughout her career, Dame Ruth has held various influential positions, including director of nursing at NHS Improvement and chief executive roles at prominent NHS trusts. Her departure leaves a significant void in the nursing leadership landscape, with colleagues and industry stakeholders acknowledging her immense contributions.

Amanda Pritchard, the chief executive of NHS England, praised Dame Ruth’s dedication to nurturing future nursing leaders and advocating for the welfare of healthcare professionals. Similarly, nursing organisations such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Royal College of Nursing have expressed gratitude for Dame Ruth’s tireless commitment and unwavering advocacy for the nursing profession.

As Dame Ruth prepares to step down, her legacy as a champion of nursing excellence and patient care will endure, serving as an inspiration for generations of healthcare professionals to come. While her departure marks the end of an era, it also signals the beginning of a new chapter in the ongoing quest for excellence in healthcare delivery.