Primary care has been been the focus of national media attention, following the leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband's pledge to ensure everyone has the right to an appointment at their surgery within 48hrs, and sooner for those in the most need.
Following Labour's announcement, the RCN's Peter Carter rightly said that to provide this level of service, investment in the whole general practice team would be necessary. He highlighted the need for developing and supporting the practice nurse workforce, both in terms of ensuring adequate numbers and training and education for those already working in general practice.
The RCN's call for support for practice nurses is a welcome boost for the profile of practice nurses and it couldn't have come at a better time. As the rhetoric around general practice gains momentum - the RCGP recently launched its Patients First: Back General Practice campaign, and its practice nursing foundation group is pushing for a practice nursing qualification and career pathway - now is the time for the RCN to get behind primary care nurses.
I met Dr Carter at the end of last week - the full interview will be published in the June 2 issue - and he expressed support for investing in practice nurses and improving their access to education.
Mr Miliband's pledge is a laudable ideal. Who doesn't want quicker access to appointments for them and their family? But with general practice already buckling under the sheer volume of patients, a Labour government would need to invest in the practice nurse and comunity nurse workforces, as well as GPs if this ideal is to become reality.