Following the news that nurses and other health professionals in South West England will conduct more than a quarter of GP appointments in the next four years, nurses have urged the CCG that this is already happening around the country.
Practice nurses and advanced nurse practitioners are already taking on their capacity of GP appointments around the country, the professionals said.
The regional plan for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) dictates that 27% of current GP patients will be seen instead by nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists by 2020/21.
Fiona Ellis told Nursing in Practice, ‘This is already happening, there are many ANPs doing an excellent job in GP practices across the country.’
Nurses also said that any increase in patient list size for practice nurses be met with a proportionate increase in pay.
A spokesperson for the BNSSG STP said that the plans ‘acknowledge that a significant share of primary care appointments are already seen by other health professionals including practice nurses.
‘The focus of the STP is on a wider integration of community and primary care services and the whole multi-professional team, including but not limited to nurses.’
When asked if nurses in the area be paid any extra in the coming years as a result, the STP responded that the plan includes a ‘specific workstream on workforce’, but that ‘the details of this workstream are currently being developed’.
Karen Dukes told Nursing in Practice, ‘We as advanced nurse practitioners have been working alongside our GP colleagues for years now, seeing, examining, diagnosing, prescribing and treating patients in primary care.’
Practice nurse Ruth Beckett said, ‘It’s a cheap way for the Government to try to cover the GP crisis’.
And ‘as with the fact that there aren’t enough GPs, there are even fewer practice nurses!’ she said.