NHS England will create a general practice nurse development strategy as part of its wider plan to improve general practice.
The General Practice Forward View outlines extra funding and workforce measures to sustain general practice for the future. Spending will rise from £9.6 billion in 2016/17 to over £12 billion by 2021 – a 14% increase when inflation is factored in. This investment will be supplemented by a £500 million ‘turnaround’ package to support practices, and additional funds from CCGs.
The investment into practice nurses will go towards improving training capacity in general practice, increasing the number of pre-registration training placements, improving rention in the existing nursing workforce and support for return to work schemes fo practice nurses. This will all be achieved through an 'extra minimum £15million national investment'.
‘In many areas there are too few district nurses to treat people at home, too few practice nurses to manage people in surgeries, and too few other staff available in the community,’ said Janet Davies, chief executive of the RCN. ‘NHS England’s transformation plan for general practice is a step in the right direction and a welcome acknowledgment of the importance of GPs and practice nurses.’
The funding will also be spent on improving in hours and out of hours access, including setting up clinical hubs and reforming urgent care. There will also be a new voluntary contract supporting integrated primary and community health services. Additionally, NHS England have announced that it will make plans to cut bureaucracy and tackle inappropriate attendance to general practices.
The money will go towards 3000 practice-based mental health therapists, an extra 1500 co-funded practice clinical pharmacists, and support for practice nurses and physician assistants.
‘We are acutely aware of the pressures GPs are facing right now and the need to get on track as quickly as possible,’ says Arvind Madan, NHS England director of primary care. ‘This means that practices, working together, will benefit from access to support if they are struggling to meet patient’s needs, reductions in unnecessary workload, more opportunities to recruit staff and a chance to improve use of their technology or premises.’