Ben Scott, an ANP and practice partner at Blyth Road Medical Centre in Rotherham, tells Mimi Launder about how he spends his day managing both patients and his practice
I leave the house around 6.30am and arrive by around 7am. The GP and I are usually the first ones in. I open up the building and spend 10 minutes firing up the computers before having a morning catch-up with the GP. Next, I look at out-of-hours contacts via NHS 111 from the previous evening. If necessary, I might arrange to see a patient who called 111 overnight. Although the patient might have been asked to contact the medical centre and book an appointment that day, I will step in and schedule one if I think it is warranted, or I might chase up the patient if they don’t book in. I also take a quick look to see if any bloods came in late.
I see my first patient at 8am. I prefer to see patients face-to-face, so my appointments are predominantly in person unless they are follow-ups. As an experienced ANP, there’s not really much I don’t do. For the first hour of morning surgery, appointments are pre-bookable. After that, the appointments are deemed urgent and bookable on the day. I might deal with wound care if there is no one in to do this, as well as multiple long-term conditions, and vaccinations and immunisations. For that first hour before contracted hours begin, there’s no one else there apart from the GP and the cleaner, so there are no interruptions. It’s beautiful. I get a lot done in that hour.
If I’m on call, staff who need advice will visit me in my room to ask questions. We have a few staff members – an advanced clinical pharmacist, a recently transitioned ANP, two healthcare assistants and a practice nurse. I will get input from them throughout the day.
On a day when I’m not on call, clinics are slightly longer, but with an admin block in the middle to catch up with letters, bloodwork and other tasks you can’t do when you’re on call. There are fewer interruptions, so my focus can be fully on the day job, rather than a million things at once. But I love the variety and the challenge – I think that’s what keeps people in primary care.
After morning surgery, we tend to have a 15-minute debrief and then I’ll shoot downstairs to see if anything has come in during the morning from paramedics or district nursing teams. After that, I jump onto admin – reauthorising prescriptions or dealing with queries.
I normally take 45 minutes to an hour for lunch with other people. I like everyone to join if possible. I think it’s important to get people together, although it’s not always possible. I love my staffing group like family. It’s the genuine truth – I wouldn’t have done this job if it’d been different people. I would have stayed in my post as clinical director for Doncaster South PCN and as a salaried ANP. I only made this change because of the people coming to work.
After lunch, my appointments are made up mostly of reviews, follow-ups, joint injections and complex diabetes patients, as I have a special interest in diabetes.
My afternoon clinics are a carbon copy of the morning, with a block of pre-bookable slots and a block of on-the-day appointments.
After my afternoon clinics finish, I again sort through bloods, prescriptions and letters. On an on-call day, I get home at around 7.30pm.
When I’m not on call, I tend to finish clinic at about 5pm. Once a week I might finish seeing patients at 3pm, although I stay later to get more bits done. When I’m not on call, I can focus more on my work as a partner. This might include dealing with staffing problems, complaints, safeguarding incidents or issues with our building and energy. For example, our energy costs have gone up by 65-70%, to about £1,000 a month. However, these issues can crop up at any time on any day. So, depending on severity, I might end up dealing with them at home on my laptop or over the weekend.
Some people may see general practice as a Monday-to-Friday job, but it’s absolutely not. Every Sunday, our GP has his computer on and he’s done so for years.
I have to fit other roles around this work. I sit on the NHS England shared decision-making board for primary care nursing. I am also a nurse representative for Rotherham Place, which cascades to the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICB.
Like most other people, I do flag sometimes but I love my work and when I’m fully charged, I can juggle all these responsibilities and do a good job.
Profile Ben Scott
Location: Blyth Road Medical Centre, Rotherham
Role: Advanced nurse practitioner and practice partner
Areas of responsibility: Ben Scott is one of just 51 nurse partners working in general practice, according to NHS England figures. He previously held the position of clinical director for Doncaster South Primary Care Network, where he also worked as an ANP.