GPs on course to revalidate nurses

GPs could yet become the regulators for all their practice staff, under DoH plans in last month's regulation White Paper.

Last August GP revealed government proposals for GPs to revalidate practice nurses (GP, 8 August). The plans are still possible after the government admitted further discussions were needed on the issue.

The White Paper ‘Trust, Assurance and Safety: the regulation of health professionals in the 21st century’ stipulates that nurses will undergo employer-led revalidation based on appraisals and the knowledge and skills framework.

However, whether GPs or primary care organisations should revalidate practice nurses ‘will be discussed with the relevant professions’.

Sarah Thewlis, chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), said it was important that in this context GPs were employers rather than healthcare professionals, and as such were responsible for quality, assuring the care being delivered in their organisation.

However, Jane Naish, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) policy adviser, said revalidation should be about peer assessment as well as employer appraisal.
Lisa Eve, a practice nurse in south London, said she was not sure she trusted all GPs to know what nurses should or should not be doing.

‘I’ve been in some poorly performing practices and I’d be worried about nurses working in those practices being revalidated by those GPs,’ she said. ‘I wouldn’t mind if there was a team of people and a GP was a member.’

GPC deputy chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said GPs did not want anything to do with revalidating another profession.
‘I don’t think any of this should be employer led,’ he said. ‘Employers have too many conflicting interests to be objective.’

Kate Howie, a member of the RCN’s Practice Nurse Association, said she felt the NMC should revalidate nurses: ‘As a nurse I want to be revalidated by my regulatory body not by another professional group.’

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