Greater role for practice nurses needed in London

A report published by the King’s Fund has outlined that care in London is not as consistently good as it could be. Analysis suggests that general practices need to do more to ensure that all Londoners experience high-quality care that is appropriate to their needs.

The report highlights the great variations that persist in both the availability and quality of care experienced by patients across London. While improvements and innovations can be seen in some general practices, they need to be spread more rapidly, with commissioners of primary care needing robust systems in place if they are to tackle unacceptable standards of care.

The report’s authors argue that GPs must be supported by a wider range of health professionals if they are to manage the growing range and complexity of health needs of patients. A greater role for practice nurses must be provided if future demands on primary care in London are to be met.

London GPs work with fewer practice staff than elsewhere in the UK. There are only a little over two practice staff per GP in London, compared with 2.47 nationally.

The quality of consultations with a GP and/or practice nurse was revealed in a 2011/12 patient survey to be lower in London than elsewhere in the UK. 87% of Londoners were satisfied with their consultations with a practice nurse compared to 91% in the rest of England. But’ as in the rest of England fewer patients were satisfied with their GP (84%) than with their practice nurse.

This new report affirms many of the findings of previous studies. The key issues and recommendations for changes to primary care raised in previous reports are still being issued today. Therefore, unless there is change in the way care is delivered in other settings, the transformation agenda for primary care and general practice cannot be achieved.

Taken from Practice Nursing, published 21 Jan 2013.

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