‘Jury is still out’ on success of GP Forward View admits NHS England

Adobe Spark (3)The Director of Primary Care for NHS England, has admitted ‘the jury is still out’ on whether the GP Forward View is working. Speaking at the Health and Care Innovations Expo in Manchester, Dr Arvind Madan outlined progress on the 5-year strategy that aims to stabilise general practice and transform it for the future.

The plan, launched in April 2016, has pledged to increase funding in general practice by £2.4 billion per year and introduce 5,000 extra GPs by 2021. Additionally it seeks to reduce pressure on GPs through a new practice resilience programme.

‘We are in our teenage years and this is where we find out what the character of the programme can ultimately be,’ said Madan. He highlighted early indications suggesting a 5% increase in the number of GPs in training since last year and that they were half way through the 5000 target of other professionals working in primary care.

Madan also highlighted the role of nurses in delivering the GP Forward View: ‘Nursing teams are a vital component of the general practice workforce,’ he said. ‘They provide care and treatment across the life course and increasingly work in partnership with GPs to manage overall demand in practices and treat patients with complex conditions.’

Speaking to Independent Nurse, Dr Crystal Oldman, Chief Executive of the Queen’s Nursing Institute, said there has been some progress following the implementation of the GP Forward Practice View, particularly the introduction of the 10-point action plan to develop the role of general practice nurses.

However, she felt less positive about increases in the numbers of nurses, which she said are ‘not even close’ to what is needed. Additionally, she said she is ‘confident’ there has been no change in the reduction of workload pressures for nurses. According to Oldman, the gap is in the engagement with the nurses themselves:

‘Because they work for individual businesses they are not engaged with the wider movement of general practice nursing,’ she said.

‘I think there is increased hope, and this may mean nurses will stick around in general practices in the hope that this plan is going to make a difference to workforce pressures general practice.’

The importance of nurses to meeting the demands faced by general practice was also emphasised at the same event by Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, who described practice nurses as ‘central to our plan to ensure the NHS is fit for the future’.

Taken from Independent Nurse, published 15 September 2017.

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.