Darzi extended hours plans could boost advanced nursing roles

Extended opening hours in general practice will boost opportunities for nurses to take on advanced roles, nurses’ leaders believe.

Kate Howie
Health minister Lord Darzi has announced plans for 50 per cent of practices to extend their opening hours. He also called for 150 new practices that open from 8am to 8pm and a further 100 practices staffed by ‘900 GPs, nurses and healthcare assistants’ to be set up in the 25 per cent of PCTs that have the fewest doctors.

Ministers are planning to divert cash from clinical areas of the QOF to fund extended opening. Dr David Haslam, a Hertfordshire GP and clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, said this month that a senior DoH official had told him 60 points, worth £7,476 to an average practice, would be moved.

Senior nurses believe the need to open for longer will force practices to look at broadening skill mix, and strengthen the case for training more nurses to take on advanced roles.

RCN Practice Nurse Association chair Kate Howie said: ‘I think practices should be open longer. They will have to look at a new skill-mix model. This is more ammunition to support training more nurse practitioners.’

RCN primary care adviser Lynn Young agreed: ‘This is an opportunity to put more pressure on general practices to fund training for nurse practitioners. Extended opening hours could mean we have more nurses doing first-contact consultations.’

She said the plans would ‘not necessarily’ require more nurses, because it may be possible simply to stagger shifts more creatively. Nurses may also be able to demand more pay. Ms Howie said: ‘Nurses should negotiate extra pay for working extra hours.’

However, Leicester-based nurse consultant Jane Scullion said many practice nurses had quit hospital work to avoid working shifts and the NHS would need more nurses to achieve extended opening.

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

GMC sign

Gaps in GMC referral and exam pass rates for ethnic minority doctors falling, says GMC

Gaps in fitness to practise referrals and exam pass rates between doctors from white...

Pharmacy shelves

Menopause prescribing advice updated as HRT shortage continues

The British Menopause Society has recommended alternative options for prescribers...

GP sign

Using IIF cash to top up staff pay risks major gap in practice finances, warn accountants

GP practices could face a major cash shortfall in 2024/25 if they use investment...

Paxlovid – one of the treatments available for COVID-19

GPs could play bigger role in prescribing COVID-19 treatments from end of June

GPs could play a greater role in prescribing COVID-19 treatments to patients at risk...

Physiotherapist works with patient

Is the government right to claim its 26,000 additional roles target has been met?

Prime minister Rishi Sunak claimed last month that the government had met its manifesto...

Statement of fitness for work

GP training: Tips for completing FIT notes

GP trainer Dr Pipin Singh provides advice for trainees on how to complete fit notes,...