Nurses warned not to be left behind in general practice developments

General practice nurses should make themselves part of the conversation on how their practice develops

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Are you looking forward to the 2% pay rise that was announced in the new general practice contract? This takes effect in April and marks some of the biggest contract changes in over a decade.

We are told that the framework will be essential to deliver the ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan through the delivery of strong general practice services. An investment of £256.3 million is going into the contract, a 3.4% increase overall.

Who will deliver these ‘strong general practice services’? Where was the mention of general practice nurses (GPNs) as professionals essential to the success of the new contract?

Where is the mention of general practice nurses?

While funding for around 20,000 more health professionals aims to free up GPs’ time, the emphasis is on the recruitment of pharmacists, physician associates, physiotherapists, community paramedics and social prescribing link workers.

I value how these specialist skills enhance patient care, but one little mention of the GPNs’ place in this new model of general practice would have been welcome.

There is funding for a primary care fellowship scheme aimed at newly qualified registrants. I welcome this, but as a GPN recently pointed out: ‘That’s all very well, but what about the current workforce? What is being done for them?’

Development opportunities

Look at the new contract. There is much that affects GPNs and our future, including a state-backed indemnity scheme.

My message is to be at the centre of developments in your practice. Start a dialogue with your employers and be part of the conversation about how your practice wants to progress.

If there are development opportunities, put your hand up as being interested rather than let a new person be appointed for a role you would have been willing to train for. Don’t be left behind. This is an opportunity for you – and good luck with the pay rise.

Marie-Therese Massey, a senior lecturer in nursing at Sheffield Hallam University, is chair of the RCN General Practice Nursing Forum



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