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Interviewing for England’s first-ever chief nursing information is underway following a pause of the recruitment process due to concerns about race inequalities, Nursing Times understands.
The search for the role was “paused” just days after the vacancy went live on 15 October last year after complaints were made about the criteria for the post.
The advertisement for the position, which will be based at health tech unit NHSX, had listed board-level experience as an “essential requirement” to apply for the job, as previously reported.
However, critics pointed out that this requirement would limit the diversity of the applicants due to well-documented problems around black and ethnic minority nurses reaching director positions.
Consequently, on 18 October it was announced by NHSX on Twitter that recruitment for the role had been “paused”.
At the time, health commentators raised concerns with Nursing Times about the apparent oversight.
Sarah Amani from the Shuri Network, the first forum established to represent women of colour in the fields of NHS digital health and technology, warned: “Words that we have heard about commitment to diversity have clearly not translated into behaviours.
“Involving people from diverse backgrounds at the point of designing the person specification and job adverts should be the norm, but it isn’t,” she said. “Often, it is an afterthought and this just perpetuates inequality.”
It is understood that the director experience requirement was moved from “essential” to “desirable” before the process was relaunched.
A spokeswoman at NHS England told Nursing Times the post was re-advertised in late October and that the process had closed “before Christmas”.
She said interviews for the position would be taking place over the “next couple of weeks”.
Nursing Times understands the succesful candidate will be announced next month.
The new CNIO will be tasked with leading the NHS digital agenda as it applies to nursing and midwifery practice and ensuring the public is engaged in digital transformation.
Set to earn £100,000 a year, they will be employed by NHS England and NHS Improvement, report to chief clinical information officer Simon Eccles and will be professionally accountable to English chief nursing officer Ruth May.