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A senior nurse who has retired from the NHS after 43 years has been likened to Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole in terms of her contribution to nursing.
Elaine Inglesby-Burke stepped down on 2 October from her role as group chief nursing officer at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, which brings together Salford Royal and Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS trusts.
“There are about a handful of nurse leaders in England that have had such a significant impact on nursing”
Nationally, Ms Inglesby-Burke has been a significant advocate in the campaign for hospitals to set nurse staffing levels in the interest of patient safety.
She was part of the prime minister’s nursing and care quality forum and was the only nurse selected to be on the national advisory group for the Berwick report on improving the safety of patients in England.
Her achievements in nursing earned her a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Leading tributes to Ms Inglesby-Burke on her retirement was Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England.
Ms Inglesby-Burke was one of the first recipients of Ms May’s national gold award for nursing and remains one of only a handful of people to hold the badge.
The CNO praised Ms Inglesby-Burke as having made a “huge positive impact” in her work, both for the profession and for the safety of patients.
In particular, Ms May noted how Ms Inglesby-Burke’s ‘board to ward’ programme at Salford Royal was now being rolled out nationally.
“There are about a handful of nurse leaders in England that have had such a significant impact on nursing, such as Florence Nightingale, Professor Dame Hilary Chapman, and Mary Seacole. I hold Elaine in the same regard,” said Ms May.
“Elaine, thank you for what you have done for our profession and for the legacy that you leave that will continue to help improve our services for years to come.”
“The nursing profession is so much the better for her dedication and contribution”
Ms Inglesby-Burke qualified as a nurse in 1980 at Warrington District General Hospital and has worked in the North West in a variety of positions, including ward manager and nurse specialist.
She has held executive nurse director positions since 1996 but has continued to work regular clinical shifts at ward level.
In 2004, she made chief nurse of Salford Royal and is said to have been instrumental in helping the trust achieve an “outstanding” Care Quality Commission rating.
Jim Potter, chair of Salford Royal and the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, said: “Elaine has supported and inspired so many colleagues.
“She has led by example with care, compassion and kindness; she has left a lasting impression on the thousands of lives she has touched and the people she has worked with.
“The nursing profession is so much the better for her dedication and contribution.”
Raj Jain, chief executive of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, highlighted Ms Inglesby-Burke’s commitment to patient safety and experience.
“In every meeting and discussion, whether at board level or ward level, in every contact with staff and patients, in everything that she has led or worked on, the patient has always been core of Elaine’s viewpoint,” he said.
“She has always reminded us of the most important aspect to our work – safety and the patient experience.”