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DH vision for practice nurses will 'raise profile' of the discipline

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The DH is poised to launch its vision for general practice nursing, outlining the 'unique contribution' of general practice nurses (GPNs) in developing life-long relationships with patients and ensuring care is tailored to individual needs.

Following the publication of a vision for district nurses in January, this framework defines roles in general practice nursing; sets these in context to the '6Cs'; and highlights six key areas in which GPNs must take a lead: maximising health and wellbeing to help people to stay independent; working with people to provide a positive experience; delivering care and measuring impact; supporting positive staff experience; ensuring services have the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place; and building and strengthening leadership.

Achieving this will hinge around actions such as ensuring nurse influence in QOF negotiations, business decisions and commissioning intentions; encouraging staff to obtain an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) qualification at Masters level; and developing mentorship skills to help pre-registration nurses, healthcare assistants (HCAs) and new staff.

Jenny Aston, an ANP and member of the vision's steering group, said: 'General practice is fundamental to the care delivery of the future. We need sustainable funding to develop a career framework, educational standards and infrastructure to support training and development. This needs to be achievable across England to ensure patients are cared for by well-prepared nurses and HCAs.

'I believe there is a once-in-10-year opportunity to raise the profile of nursing in general practice and seek funding to grow and sustain the workforce. Great efforts are being made to seek input from nurses so I am hopeful that results will be welcomed by nurses in general practice.'

Wendy Nicholson, DH professional officer for nursing, urged practice nurses provide feedback to the department, once the final version of the vision is published within the next few weeks.

Its success will be measured subjectively, through patient perspectives of the care they receive in general practice; health improvements; prevention of mortality; and enhanced quality of life for people with long-term conditions.

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