General practice nurses (GPNs) are not being properly ‘recognised or rewarded’, the vice chair of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Council has warned.
Speaking during a Labour Party conference event on Monday, Paul Vaughan also raised concerns about the terms and conditions of employment of GPNs.
Mr Vaughan was part of a panel session at the conference being held in Liverpool this week, alongside shadow health secretary Wes Streeting and British Medical Association council chair Dr Philip Banfield.
‘In general practice, one of the challenges we have is that the nurses there are not being properly valued or recognised or rewarded,’ said Mr Vaughan, while flagging concerns about employment terms and conditions for some GPNs.
He added: ‘I was speaking to a nurse about six months ago who got cancer and was given statutory sick pay at the practice she had worked in for 25 years – to me that is a disgrace.’
Meanwhile, the RCN recently stressed it was ‘vital’ that GPNs in England received the pay increase they were entitled to – in line with the 6% pay uplift for practice staff announced by the government.
Mr Vaughan’s concerns for the GPN workforce come after Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) chief executive Dr Crystal Oldman told Nursing in Practice that the contribution of GPNs was being ‘airbrushed out’ and ‘ignored’.
‘Any available funding’ would go to general practice over hospitals
Also during the Labour conference panel session, attended by our sister publication Pulse, the shadow health secretary said he had ‘made it very clear’ to hospitals that any funding that becomes ‘available’ under a Labour government would go to primary care and other non-acute sectors.
Mr Streeting said directing resources to primary care along with mental health services, community care and social care creates ‘better outcomes for patients’ and value for money.
On the NHS workforce, he acknowledged that recruiting more healthcare professionals ‘is only part of the challenge’ and that ‘retention is a big problem’.
Mr Streeting suggested that improving technology would help to ‘meet the overwhelming workload challenge’ faced by healthcare professionals across the NHS.
A version of this article first appeared in our sister publication Pulse