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Nurses excluded from commissioning

Only 7% of nurses think they know "a lot" about what is happening with practice-based commissioning (PbC) in their local area, according to a new survey made by Independent Nurse. Six out of 10 nurses say they know "very little" or "nothing" about local plans.

Despite recent pleas by the NHS Alliance for nurses to attend local PbC meetings regardless of whether they were invited, 65% of nurses say they had never been to any meetings on the subject.

More than half of the nurses say they had not received any information or spoken to anyone from their PCT about PbC. Despite this, 50% would be interested in providing a service under PbC. However, almost half say they don't know whether PbC would benefit patients or provide more opportunities for nurses.

One nurse says: "PbC seems to be exclusively GPs in our area. Nurses are excluded and not provided with any information."

The majority of nurses say they would become more involved with local commissioning if they had more information about PbC, support from their PCT or GPs in their area, or if there were local meetings for clinicians about PbC.

Lynn Young, RCN primary care adviser, comments: "While some GPs may feel threatened by nurses moving into their territory, wise GPs will be seeking out feisty nurses and will be thrilled to have bright nurses saying they want to be involved."

She added that there should be a renewed effort to ensure clinical engagement with PbC and that nurse involvement was essential if PbC was to provide solutions for long-term conditions.

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