More than three quarters of practice nurses do not feel engaged with the work of their clinical commissioning group (CCG), an Independent Nurse survey has found.
More than 120 practice-based nurses have so far responded to the questionnaire, which has been set up to capture primary care and community nurses' opinions on the changes to commissioning brought in by the Health and Social Care Act.
According to the findings, 76 per cent feel either 'not engaged at all' or 'engaged very little' with the work of their local CCG. Nineteen per cent say they feel 'fairly engaged', with just 5 per cent saying they are 'very engaged'.
A practice nurse based in the east of England said: 'I'd like our GPs to be a bit more inclusive and explain their roles in the CCG to their staff. I feel completely in the dark about it.'
Another, from the north east, added: 'We want better communication by each surgery's GP CCG lead by meeting regularly to get updates, and to encourage nurses to be involved. Also CCG chairs, and senior nurse reps, should have regular meetings with nursing teams.'
According to research by Independent Nurse, fewer than half of all CCG boards have appointed a lead nurse - something that is a requirement if they are to receive authorisation. This nurse, however, may not be a primary care nurse from the CCG's area, so other ways to engage frontline primary care nurse must be found.
Andrea Gupta, practice nurse and chair of St Helen's shadow CCG board, said: 'From a practice nurse point of view, commissioning is a distant activity done by managers and CCGs, and that is dominated by GPs.
'I find that there is a lack of understanding of commissioning, finance, and budgetary control by not only grass roots nurses, but other health care professionals too, including primary and secondary care doctors.
'Information provided should recap what has gone on to date, starting with basics relating to what is a commissioner and what is a provider.'
The survey is part of our No Tokenism campaign, which aims to ensure nurses are actively involved in local commissioning. To take part, visit http://bit.ly/indynursesurvey.
For more on the campaign, see 'Clinician-led commissioning', page 45