Third of practice consultations carried out by a nurse

Around one in three practice consultations in Scotland were carried out by a practice nurse in 2008/9, figures reveal.

Findings from Practice Team Information, which are used by the Scottish government and health boards to inform policy, suggest this respresents an increase of around 0.8 million contacts since 2007/8.

The research also highlighted that around 32% of nurse consultations were for a QOF-related condition, compared to just 16% of GP consultations.

But despite the increased role of practice nurses, the findings also revealed that practices are less likely to provide cover when practice nurses take holiday or are off sick. 

Ellen Hudson, associate director of RCN Scotland, warned this could compromise patient care.

‘General practices must recognise the lynchpin role that practice nurses have in managing patient care and provide the necessary cover to ensure consistently high-quality care for patients who rely on practice nurses for advice and treatment,' she said.

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