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PCNs advised to ‘grow own’ nursing associates to save GPN time

PCNs advised to ‘grow own’ nursing associates to save GPN time

PCNs have been advised to identify people within their practice interested in becoming a trainee nurse associate to free up practice nurses’ time.

Speaking at Nursing in Practice‘s sister title Pulse PCN’s London live event, deputy chair of the BMA’s GP Committee in England Dr Kieran Sharrock suggested staff who completed the training could help with nurses’ childhood immunisation and smear test workload.

Dr Sharrock, who is also a Lincolnshire GP, told delegates: ‘Yes, that means they have to take time out to train, but in the long run it will save you some time.

‘Growing your own really is one of the things we have to do because we can’t just find a pharmacist, we can’t just find a nurse practitioner – there aren’t that many out there.’

PCN workforce leads should ‘think flexibly’ and put staff forward for further training when trying to fill ARRS roles he said, adding that ‘very minimal’ training is needed for some.

He continued: ‘For social prescribing link workers, the training is very minimal – it’s an online course and a commitment to sign up to some further training, then you’ve got a social prescribing link worker.’

This would also apply to health and wellbeing coaches, for which the training is also ‘minimal’, he added.

Dr Sharrock noted that while this will not fill all the gaps in a PCN’s workforce, it may help existing staff to work better.

He also flagged that offering existing staff training and support is likely to help retain them.

It comes a week after NHS England reported that PCNs had recruited as many as 16,000 ARRS staff as of December 2021 towards the Government’s 26,000-by-2024 target.

However, RCGP analysis from January suggested the Government risks failing to meet its manifesto pledge to recruit 26,000 additional staff without stepping up efforts.

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