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General practice nurses in London work more hours, reveals survey

Nurses employed in general practice in London are working more hours, clocking up more overtime and doing more evening sessions than their counterparts across the country according to a new survey.

More than a third are planning to retire within the next five years according to a survey from the Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI).

Just over half of the 382 general practice nurses (GPN) in London who responded to the QNI's national survey said they worked evening sessions after 6pm, compared with 32% nationally.

Twenty per cent said they worked at weekends and more of them said they did unpaid work, with 31% working between 36 and 40 hours.

The survey also found that less than a fifth of London practices were offering placements for pre-registration student nurses, despite three fifths providing placements for medical students.

Dr Crystal Oldman, the chief executive of the QNI said she was concerned by the lack of practice placements offered to nursing students.

“This is of particular concern, especially given that more than a third of GPNs plan to retire by 2020.

Growing the workforce will be challenging without substantive placements, supported by qualified mentors and sign-off mentors in practice.”

A greater proportion of nurses said they were a qualified mentor, with 30% in London, compared with the rest of the country.

However the survey found that 44% of them had not updated their mentorship for more than three years and were likely to be out of date with teaching and the learning needs of students.

Nurses also reported that communication with district nursing  was less effective, compared with nurses' experience elsewhere in the UK.

Just over half of them, in common with nurses across the UK, did not know how their work was measured for commissioners.

The QNI is calling for CCGs, Health Education England and the Council of Deans of Health to develop a “robust workforce plan” to determine the number of GPNs needed to meet London's health needs.

It also wants the health bodies to consider their potential in caring for the capital's population, especially in the context of declining numbers of GPs.