Nurse-led clinics improve healthcare access in rural Scotland, says RCN

Nurse-led clinics and services run by highly qualified nurse practitioners can greatly improve access to healthcare in rural Scotland, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Scotland has said.

RCN Scotland says that in rural areas it is not always necessary to see a doctor, and suggested that so long as healthcare is safe and effective, it should not matter who provides it and how it is delivered.

It called for a healthcare system that is not concerned with traditional professional boundaries between doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Eileen Frame, chair of RCN Scotland, said: ‘Everyone, regardless of where they live, should be able to quickly gain the health advice and treatment they need.

‘It is not necessary to see a GP in many cases, so in rural areas - where it can be hard to recruit doctors - nurse-led clinics and services run by highly qualified and skilled advanced nurse practitioners can improve access to healthcare hugely.'

She added: ‘Investment in the skills and training of the health workforce must continue in order to ensure that everyone can be seen and treated by an appropriately skilled member of the healthcare team.'

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