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ARRS ‘has not decreased’ GPN workload, survey suggests

ARRS ‘has not decreased’ GPN workload, survey suggests

More than three-quarters of general practice nurses (GPNs) in England were not consulted on the introduction of roles under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS), early research findings have shown.

Meanwhile, more than half of GPNs have said they have not been able to give more holistic care since ARRS roles were implemented and a majority said their workload had not decreased.

The figures were presented by Professor of healthcare and workforce modelling at London South Bank University, Professor Alison Leary, during the Queen’s Nursing Institute’s (QNI) annual conference being held online this week.

The QNI has surveyed around 500 GPNs on the impact of ARRS on their workload and today Professor Leary shared some preliminary findings.

Of those surveyed, 76.5% said they had not been consulted on the introduction of ARRS roles – a programme introduced in 2019, which allows primary care networks to claim reimbursement for the salaries of some multidisciplinary roles into practices.

Only around 12% said they had been consulted.

During ‘any major workforce change or any major changes that affect people’s work’ people ‘should be consulted on’, said Professor Leary.

But ‘virtually nobody was’, she added.

‘This is really important practice, and people should be consulted on things that affect their work and their workload,’ she said.

Other findings saw the majority of GPNs (354) report that they disagreed or strongly disagreed that the introduction of ARRS roles had decreased their workload.

Meanwhile, some GPNs (192) said they agreed or strongly agreed that the implementation of ARRS roles had in fact increased their workload.

‘Interestingly, ARRS hasn’t really decreased people’s workloads – having more people hasn’t decreased the workload,’ said Professor Leary.

‘It’s increased people’s workloads a bit more.’

She recognised it was ‘not uncommon’ to see people’s workloads increase when something new is introduced, ‘because there is a form of adaption’.

‘Also, most of these people in this situation have probably never worked in general practice before,’ she added.

‘So, when you’ve got a new situation, people, even if they’re really, really good at their jobs, put them in a new situation, there is a situation of adaption to that, which the people already in the job have to help those people with – this is not a new thing.

‘It’s almost never considered though in healthcare. People just think you can just drop people in like they’re bits of Lego.’

In addition, some 57% of GPNs surveyed said they disagreed or strongly disagreed that the introduction of ARRS roles had allowed them to provide more holistic care.

Professor Leary said there had been several comments left within the survey from GPNs about how the ARRS roles had impacted their workload and that this would be analysed by the research team.

In a recent interview with Nursing in Practice, QNI chief executive Dr Crystal Oldman mooted this GPN survey, and noted that the charity wanted to better understand the impact of the scheme, as well as examples of where it may be working well.

During the interview, Dr Oldman said GPNs were developing training and induction programmes for ARRS staff coming in and were also being required to supervise those in post, but without recognition or benefit.

While nursing associate and advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) roles are included within the ARRS scheme, GPN roles are not.

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