Nurses angry at exclusion from extended hours talks

Practice nurses are angry that they have not been consulted over plans for extended opening hours, despite the likelihood they will be expected to work late or early shifts.

GPs seem increasingly likely to accept a deal that will commit the average practice to open for an extra three hours a week. The proposed extended hours directed enhanced service (DES) requires additional GP hours, but does not mention nurses.

However, GPC negotiator Dr Stewart Drage said: 'If practices choose to do the DES, all practices, given that they are expected to provide routine services, are likely to want to have nurses around.'

The DoH deal would see the average practice lose £17,700 unless it opens for extra hours. If GPs reject the offer, ministers have threatened to cut their income by double this amount.

RCN practice nurse association chairwoman Kate Howie said: 'Nurses may have to work different hours even if they don't work extended hours. We may find GPs working in the evening leave a gap in the day that nurses need to fill.'

Lead practice nurse for Sussex Downs and Weald PCT Jenny Greenfield said: 'Practice nurses are feeling very unloved. Just like the QOF, this looks like a change that will be imposed without consulting nurses.

'There was a local GP meeting on extended hours last night, but practice nurses were not invited. They should be involved.'

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