General practice nursing still needs a ‘stronger approach’ despite ‘especially encouraging’ figures in a public perception survey by NHS England.
Based on responses from more than 800,000 people in England, the GP Patient Survey 2017 showed that 84.8% of patients thought their last GP experience was good and 84.3% got an appointment at their local practice the last time they tried.
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As the National Health Service records higher-than-ever patient numbers, NHS England also asked users for their thoughts on access to GPs, making appointments, the quality of care received from GPs and practice nurses, satisfaction with opening hours and out-of-hours NHS services.
Primary care lead for the Royal College of Nursing Kathryn Yates said: ‘These figures are encouraging especially when general practice nurses, working in collaboration with GPs and healthcare support workers play such a vital role in the health of local communities.
‘Against a backdrop of increasing demand and treating patients with more complex and acute needs, we want to see a stronger approach to teamwork within GP practices.
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‘It’s also important that patients are given the right information so they can make informed decisions about who they receive their care from.’
NHS England said in its Five Year Forward View that it would boost GP numbers by 5,000 by 2020, but no figure was given for GPNs, despite concerns that the workforce is ageing as fewer student nurses enter general practice
‘Despite the valuable work they do, there is a shortage of GPNs and it is difficult to recruit new nursing graduates,’ said Ms Yates.
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‘If we are to build and sustain the future GPN workforce, it’s important we continue to invest in and strengthen primary care.’
NHS England expects 50% of the country will see extended access to GP appointments at evenings and weekends by March 2018. It is hoped this will extend to all of England by March 2019.