NHSE is hoping to include advanced nurse practitioners in the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS) by next April, according to Paul Vaughan, director of nursing, transformation at NHSE.
Speaking at the Best Practice Show in Birmingham today, Mr Vaughan, told the audience that ‘we’re hoping, come April, that advanced practitioners will come into the ARRS scheme’.
Mr Vaughan also told Nursing in Practice that ‘it was his hope’ that advanced nurse practitioners would be included in the ARRS by April and were ‘on the cusp’ of being included, although he stressed that negotiations were still very much underway.
The ARRS scheme was introduced to support ICBs to create bespoke multi-disciplinary teams and funding was provided for 26,000 additional roles.
NHS Digital data shows that there are now ARRS staff 19,305 working in general practices across England as of June 2022. The number of ARRS staff hired across all integrated care board (ICB) areas increased from 18,221 in March, just three months prior.
The scheme has been used to hire ‘advanced practitioners’ – who include pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, podiatrists or paramedics – but until now, advanced nurse practitioners have not been included under the scheme.
The inclusion of ANPs in the scheme, said Mr Vaughan, would ‘allow practices to do something different and support general practice in being able to deliver their services’.
Mr Vaughan emphasised the valuable skills that ANPs had to share and said that ‘there’s a great opportunity for that skill level of nurses to focus on areas like the menopause, so there’s real opportunities to be creative’.
Anna Young, an ANP in Sheffield, told Nursing in Practice that including ANPs in the ARRS scheme would be a ‘brilliant’ move, in part because they are ‘established roles’.
She explained: ‘ANPs, especially those who have worked in primary care prior to training, bring a wealth of experience and expertise with them.
‘One of the difficulties that has been found with a number of the ARRS roles has been the isolation that these new professions have had and sometimes difficulties for practices to know how and where to use them.
‘ANPs are an established role – there is an established training programme, supervision, support and development already in place. It would be excellent if they could be included and would extended parity to nurses.’
Ben Scott, an ANP and practice partner at practice in South Yorkshire, said it would be ‘fantastic’ for all staff groups to be ‘represented in the ARRS staffing pool’.
However, he added: ‘The fundamental issues remain around the lack of staff and the potential of increasing the competitiveness. But the positive is that it allows PCNs even more freedom to employ the actual staff that the individual PCNs need.’
Nursing in Practice has approached NHS England for further comment.