There is not enough investment in the training and career progression of advanced nurses in general practice, according to the director of the UK’s only general practice led by nurses.
Julie Belton, nurse practitioner and strategic and operational director of the Cuckoo Lane Practice in Ealing, said it was ‘a shame’ that there had not been more investment into advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs).
Ms Belton told Nursing in Practice: ‘I just don’t think there’s been investment in advanced nurses. There’s always funding for two or three per year, but that’s not very many and there is never money to support them.’
She added: ‘If you are training to be a GP, you get entrenched and you have a mentor. But if you are training to be an ANP, a lot of people have to do some of the training in their own time and the amount that comes to the practice over the whole course is not very much.’
The Cuckoo Lane Practice, like many other general practices, offers practice placements for both nursing and medical students undertaking post and pre-registration qualifications. However, Ms Belton claimed that the funding provided to train nurses was only a fraction of what was paid for the training of medical students.
Ms Belton explained that ANPs needed a lot of supported practice, which general practices do not have the money to provide, whereas training medical students awarded a ‘huge tariff’.
Training a medical student would provide the practice with £3,320 per term, according to data shared by Ms Belton, whereas the practice would only receive £2,800 for an entire year to provide practice placement for a nurse.
‘I trained as a nurse practitioner a number of years ago and there has been a lack of investment in nurse practitioners since,’ she told Nursing in Practice.
Ms Belton added that there were not so many nurses taking on the advanced nurse practitioner qualification because ‘money has been invested in other roles’ as indicated by ANPs late addition to the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS).
The ARRS scheme is a funding programme introduced in 2019, allowing general practices to claim reimbursement for the salaries, and some costs, for several new multidisciplinary roles including pharmacists, physiotherapists, and nursing associates.
While ANP roles are now funded through the scheme, this addition was only made in March this year though an amendment to the GP contract.
Other roles such as pharmacists, said Ms Belton, have received a boost through the ARRS scheme and now feel ‘that their worth has been identified.’
‘The ARRS scheme has only just added ANPs into the set of staff you can employ, so they were valuing others [over nurses],’ she said.