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Scotland's PNs deliver one in three GP consultations

Practice nurses deliver almost a third of all consultations in general practices in Scotland, figures show.

According to data from the Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland, GPs and practice nurses combined had an estimated 24.2m face-to-face consultations with patients in 2011/12 - an increase of nearly 2.5m compared to 2003/04, when recording began.

In 2011/12 alone, the number of GP consultation rose by almost 6% from 15.6m to 16.5m.

Practice nurse consultations increased by a quarter during this time, from 6.1m to 7.6m - 30% of all practice consultations.  

On average patients consulted a GP or practice nurse 4.4 times in 2011/12.
Theresa Fyffe, director of the Royal College of Nursing Scotland, said the “increasingly important” role of nurses has been recognised by politicians of all parties, with the Scottish Parliament's Health Committee amending legislation to pave the way for future regulation to allow nurses to hold GP contracts.

“Permitting nurses to hold GP contracts would not only reflect the increasing and diverse services that nurses provide to patients,” she said.

“Nurses could hold the contracts, manage services and deliver care for patients, employing GPs to provide care for patients with more complex illnesses and conditions.

“Now is the time for the Scottish Government to start looking seriously at extending the ability to hold GP contracts to nurses, to provide better access to health services for all communities across Scotland.”