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Practice nurses take on more consultations in primary care

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It is unclear what has increased consultation It is unclear what has caused the increased consultations for practice nurses

Practice nurse consultations are increasing, statistics by the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) have shown.

Natasha Curry, a senior fellow in health policy at the Nuffield Trust, analysed these figures in a blog post on the think-tank's website. She said that the number of consultations rose by around 11%. When the data was broken down it showed that consultations with GPs rose by approximately 2%, whereas consultations with nurses rose by 8%. Consultations with 'other' staff (including pharmacists, physiotherapists and speech therapists) increased by 18%.

The Nuffield Trust analysed the data collected from 337 practices in England between 2010/11 and 2013/14.
In her blog Ms Curry highlighted that in hospitals there are monthly publicly available figures for how many people are treated, for what condition and length of stay. However, there is no similar system for general practice making it difficult to understand exactly what is causing the pressures.
She also stated that the difference in the way practices record data means that it is difficult to apply these trends nationally.

However, Marina Lupari, the professional lead for community and primary care nurses at the RCN said that the figures were not clear on what terms the consultations have risen. 'In terms of whether it's more workload for practice nurses or if its an increase in practice nurse numbers, those figures don't tell me that,' she said.

'One of the solutions to the general practice crisis is the employment of practice nurses. The challenge in the past was that we didn't know how much was being done by practice nurses. It's only now that we are capturing figures as more and more work is being done by practice nurses and ANPs, and GPs are seeing people with more complex conditions.'

From this year, Ms Lupari said, that there will be a requirement for GP practices to report to NHS England the number of practice nurses employed in each practice.
'This is so we can see how many practice nurses we need. Over the next couple of years we will collect more data on the valuable contribution of practice nurses, which is exciting because we haven't had that before,' she said.

'There's a lot of work going on with practice nurses at a strategic level. They have many challenges on a day-to-day basis and we are working to overcome some of those challenges,' said Ms Lupari.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

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Comments

We already know that 30% of all consultations in GP practices are with practice nurses who are well recognised and trusted by patients as providers of care of all kinds. Unfortunately, the abolition of PCT's has led to the disintegration of well established leadership and support networks for PN's and failure of many CCG's to invest in PN leadership has left PN's feeling abandoned. The recruitment crisis in addition to an increasing workload has left us feeling despondent about the future.
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Gps are too busy dealing with acute care and the business of running a practice - nurses can pick up all the ongoing diabetes and long term condition consultations and bring skills of incorporating practical lifestyle motivation and education as well as ability to followup consistently. Gps are turning to nurses to pick up tasks as they themselves are becoming more removed from on-going care. Yes our clinics are full and varied we definitely need more practice nurses and dedicated training programmes and mentors. This will be good investment as practice nurses are an economically viable and skilled work force.
Posted by: ,
Gps are too busy dealing with acute care and the business of running a practice - nurses can pick up all the ongoing diabetes and long term condition consultations and bring skills of incorporating practical lifestyle motivation and education as well as ability to followup consistently. Gps are turning to nurses to pick up tasks as they themselves are becoming more removed from on-going care. Yes our clinics are full and varied we definitely need more practice nurses and dedicated training programmes and mentors. This will be good investment as practice nurses are an economically viable and skilled work force.
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