GP-led health centres should have three nurses to one GP

DoH advice to the NHS suggests GP-led health centres should each have nine nurses and three GPs, health minister Ben Bradshaw has said.

Responding to a question from Conservative shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley about the number of nurses expected to staff each centre, Mr Bradshaw said the 'precise skill mix would be determined locally'.

But he added: 'Our guidance to the NHS suggested a GP-led health centre might have nine practice nurses, and three GPs to reflect the extended hours and walk-in appointments which will predominantly be dealt with by nurses.

'However there should be a GP available at all times to see patients, where appropriate.'

The figure suggests that the centres are likely to have list sizes far greater than the UK average of just under 6,000 patients.

Jon Ford, head of the BMA's health policy unit, told GP newspaper: 'The average practice has three GPs for a list of 5,800 patients. A GP-led health centre would have to have a substantially greater than average list to justify nine nurses as well as three GPs.'

GP newspaper reported last month that GP-led health centres could poach up to 500,000 patients, based on list sizes of half the national average (GP, 13 March).

The three-to-one ratio of nurses to GPs is far higher than previous estimates. In standard GP practices, nurses are outnumbered by GPs. It has been suggested this would be rev-ersed in GP-led health centres, but that very few centres would have anything approaching this level of nursing staff.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said: 'You would only recommend a skill mix like that if you didn't think GPs were worth having.'

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