General Practice Nurses are central to plan to ensure NHS is fit for the future

2nd August 2017

A new 10 point action plan highlights the need to raise the profile of general practice nurses (GPNs) and recognise them as a ‘lynchpin of the NHS’, says Education for Health Clinical Lead Bev Bostock-Cox.

Developing confidence, capability and capacity – the ten point action plan for General Practice Nursing  launched by England’s Chief Nursing Officer, brings together key actions which aim to meet general practice workforce challenges by attracting new recruits, supporting existing GPNs and encouraging return to practice.

Bev, who leads on Education for Health’s General Practice Nursing courses, explained: “In my view primary care (and general practice specifically) has always been ‘where it’s at’.  Most healthcare is accessed and delivered in general practice and GPNs play a huge role in delivering this care across a wide spectrum of conditions.

“There are now many different types GPNs, from those who offer treatment room duties to those who offer on the day appointments for people with acute illness and those, like myself, who focus on ensuring that people who have a long term condition such as respiratory conditions, heart disease or diabetes are diagnosed correctly and have access to good quality, evidence based treatment.

“This is simply the most rewarding role, delivering care from cradle to grave and across generations of families.

“GPNs need training and support to be able to deliver this care and this is also recognised in the 10 point plan. Education for Health’s General Practice Nursing courses ensure new nurses are equipped for this demanding but hugely satisfying role. They may also be suitable for GPNs returning to practice.”

The plan is backed by a £15 million investment and will help target and prioritise where improvements are needed most. It sets out key milestones which will allow progress to be measured across General Practice Nursing for the first time.

It sets out the work needed to deliver more convenient access to care, more personalised care in the community and a stronger focus on prevention and population health driving better outcomes and experience for patients.

Actions include measures to:

  • Increase uptake and promote nursing in general practice – by raising the profile of nursing in General Practice through the ‘Image of Nursing’ programme, offering clinical placements for undergraduates and supporting additional routes into general practice nursing.
  • Support for existing GPNs – all nurses new to general practice will have access to an induction programme, training and mentoring and an expansion in leadership and career opportunities.
  • Encouraging GPNs to return to practice – the national return to practice programme will now include GPNs. Regional GPN Boards will provide a platform to share best practice.

Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “As the NHS transforms the way that we deliver care, treating more patients in the community, the importance of our general practice workforce will only increase.

“Nurses working in general practice may not have always received the recognition they deserve in the past but they are central to our plan to improve care for patients and ensure the NHS is fit for the future.

“That is why I am determined to ensure that there is a proper career development programme for those who choose this vital path and make it an attractive first choice for newly-qualified nurses as well as helping experienced staff take advantage of the flexibility it offers to re-enter the workforce.”

Read the full report:

Developing confidence, capability and capacity – the ten point action plan for General Practice Nursing

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