This is the fifth of 10 points of priorities for general practice nursing for this year, launched to form a manifesto for the profession. Look out for each of the points as they are published one by one, each supported by a nurse working in or closely related to general practice.
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 general practice nurses (GPNs). 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. We will also return to these important topics often during 2024.
Here is the fifth of the manifesto points:
#5 Prioritise health promotion
This manifesto point was championed by Julie Roye
‘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.’
Julie Roye, head of nursing for primary care at the East London NHS Foundation Trust, and a Queen’s Nurse, has brought together a multidisciplinary team, admin staff and population health leads to co-develop improvements to cervical screening uptake in a diverse patient population.
Ms Roye has recruited more nurses, opened evening sessions in response to feedback, enabled women to book their preferred appointment time and nurse via a text link – increasing their autonomy – and made sure texts and letters are delivered in appropriate languages for non-fluent English speakers. She has also ensured inclusivity for trans men and non-binary people.
Just nine months after the scheme started in August 2022 at Cauldwell Medical Centre in Bedford, uptake among 25- to 64-year-olds had increased from 52% to 80%.
Ms Roye’s efforts – which earned her a national award in 2023 – show the powerful impact nursing can have on health promotion and disease prevention.
‘Nurses are well placed to do this work,’ she says. ‘They have such an influential voice – and the power to change health outcomes for patients. For example, they can help people with diabetes and hypertension to manage their condition by advising on diet and exercise.’
‘It also means a lot to patients when nurses take time to talk about how to change and improve their health.’
But Ms Roye cautions: ‘GPNs need the time and resources to make sure health promotion and disease prevention isn’t forgotten.’ And it is vital they feel ‘appreciated, cared for and valued’, she says. ‘Your skills are important. You’re improving outcomes and going above and beyond to make a difference for patients.’
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 nursinginpractice.com 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