GPs to be trained 'on the cheap' by nurses

Yorkshire deanery says nurses can be 'appropriate' trainers, but GPs fear erosion of quality.

Yorkshire deanery is to train nurses as associate GP trainers.

The nurses will support existing GP trainers and teach parts of the curriculum in a bid to expand the trainer work force.

Six places on educator training programmes in Yorkshire and the Humber are being funded as a pilot to explore developing practice nurses and nurse practitioners as GP trainers.

'There is evidence from work force planning that primary care will need even more training capacity. We need to work out how we can increase the resources put into GP training,' said Dr Mark Purvis, director of postgraduate GP education at Yorkshire deanery.

'It is certain that some parts of the GP curriculum can be appropriately taught by nurses,' he added.

Training nurses to train GPs provoked a lively debate at last month's LMCs' conference.

Hull GP Dr Andrew Green, from East Yorkshire LMC, said appointing nurses was a strategy to plug the trainer shortage.

'Future GPs need the best training possible and that can only be delivered by those who do the job day in and day out,' he insisted.

Dr Sandy Sutherland, a GP in Midlothian and chairman of the Scottish conference of LMCs, blamed the exodus of trainers on the erosion in pay, goodwill and support.

'For the first time in my 20 years as a trainer, the meekest group in GP-land is sticking up for themselves.

'Don't think you can do it on the cheap,' he added.

Dr Purvis insisted the aim of the Yorkshire scheme is not to create nurse GP trainers, but to explore trained nurses supporting GP trainers.

'The six non-GP associate trainers would always work alongside a GP,' he said.

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