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GPN Manifesto 2024: Adapt to digital health

GPN Manifesto 2024: Adapt to digital health

This is the last of 10 priorities for general practice nursing for this year, forming a manifesto for the profession

We hear from many general practice nurses (GPNs) who aren’t happy with the direction of travel at their practices or the progress of the profession, so we asked 10 nurses to share their top priorities to create a manifesto for general practice nursing.

Workforce shortages, soaring patient demand, and pay and conditions that fall far short of those on offer to nurses working in secondary care are just some of the ongoing issues faced by GPNs.

GPNs are making their own recommendations for tackling the difficulties in the sector. Here, within their contributions to the manifesto, nurses share the actions they believe could be taken by practices, PCNs, the wider NHS, the government – and GPNs themselves.

We know that this is only the start of the conversation about challenges in general practice – please join in and share your views if you can.

Look out for more on these topics from Nursing in Practice in the coming months. 

Here is the final one of the manifesto points, each supported by a nurse working in or closely related to general practice:

#10 Adapt to digital health

This manifesto point was championed by Sara Baldwin

‘General practice needs to continue to evolve to serve patients better, adopting approved digital platforms and applications to improve patient care and outcomes.’

Sara Baldwin is a general practice nurse manager, co-chair of the primary care nursing shared professional decision-making council, an advanced clinical practice champion and a Queen’s Nurse. For the last two years she was also digital place lead for central Lancashire – one of five leads across Lancashire and South Cumbria.


Working across 194 practices, the digital place leads brought in a local intranet, introduced video group consultations and training, and installed a digital champion in every practice to help enable necessary changes. They implemented ‘front door’ triage with different platforms, increased the use of digital learning solutions to identify IT skills gaps in the workforce, and supported practices to ensure their websites complied with data regulations, increasing compliance from 21% to 92%. They increased the use of apps among practices and the number of practitioners signposting patients to apps for support with healthcare needs.


Ms Baldwin says the digital place project has received ‘a lot of positive feedback’, and shows primary care has ‘an enormous appetite to use IT in a really beneficial way’.


She says IT and digital in general practice can improve patient outcomes and help general practice deal with growing demand. ‘We’re working at a higher rate than ever, in more trying circumstances, and digital is helping meet those challenges.’


People can find initially digital daunting ‘because it’s new and challenging’, she says. ‘But if you are part of the conversation right from the beginning when you’re trying to embed digital, and you’ve had support, the whole process becomes easier, and people are more accepting of it.’


It’s important for all practices to embrace digital technologies, she says. ‘Digital is going to keep growing within general practice. But if staff are to keep up to speed with these changes, there needs to be training and support.’



Sara Baldwin

Do you have any points for discussion on this topic? Please visit Nursing in Practice on Facebook or X to start the discussion. Please do also get in touch with us at Nursing in Practice if you have relevant projects or ideas for articles to share on this subject. We welcome your thoughts.  

The 10 points of the manifesto


Look out for discussion on the points at and on social media as these points are launched one by one over the next few weeks



The government should ensure general practice nurses have the same pay, terms and conditions as their secondary care colleagues.



The NHS, practices, universities and other stakeholders need to change the narrative, to encourage more nurses to choose general practice.



Practices, PCNs, the NHS and government should do more to promote the health of our less well-off families.



Practices and PCNs need to free up time for GPNs to empower patients to manage their long-term conditions, including diabetes, asthma and COPD.



NHS England, PCNs, and GP practices should ensure GPNs have the time and resources to carry out their crucial role in public health promotion and disease prevention.



GPN employers, PCNs and nursing bodies need to support nurses with their health and care, so they can care for others.



All nurses should be given the time for professional development to progress their careers. NHS England, PCNs and practices should encourage and support the GPN and ANP roles to grow in general practice.



It is important for general practice nurses to consider parity of esteem – valuing the patients’ mental health needs equally to their physical health.



GPNs need to play an important role in overturning the decline in childhood immunisation uptake.



General practice needs to continue to evolve to serve patients better, adopting approved digital platforms and applications to improve patient care and outcomes.


Writer: Kathy Oxtoby

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