35% of GPs' work to be done by nurses

Practice nurses will take on up to 35 per cent of traditional GP work under White Paper plans for primary care, according to a leading GP clinician.

Professor Mike Kirby, director of the Hertfordshire Primary Care Research Network and a GP in Letchworth, said that based on the White Paper and 'gazing into my crystal ball' he estimated nurses could take on even more under PBC.

'I think in the future there will be more of a push in practices to identify patients with problems and those who are at risk much earlier. Health promotion for these patients is what practice nurses are very much better at than GPs,' he said.

'Nurses are in daily contact with patients, they can check for symptoms. They will start to run all the chronic disease clinics such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma and stroke.'

Professor Kirby said nurses could also take on areas such as titration of drugs for heart failure, epilepsy clinics and brief cognitive behavioural therapy interventions as first-line treatment for depression.

The network has 400 members including GPs and nurses.

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