Nurses argue for gatekeeper role in primary care

Nurses should be the first point of contact for most people seeking appointments in general practices, according to RCN Scotland.

The nursing body says that this week's first National General Practice Week in Scotland should be used to find new ways of ensuring expanding communities have access to appropriately qualified healthcare professionals.

It cites a study by a Take Care Now nurse consultant which found that 90% of consultations can be safely treated by appropriately trained and educated nurses out-of-hours.

Theresa Fyffe, director of RCN Scotland, said: ‘Since 2004 the vast majority of GP practices have opted out of providing out-of-hours services. As a result flexible solutions to offering healthcare services have been found in many areas of Scotland. Highly qualified and skilled nurse practitioners have met this challenge and offer appropriate care and treatment to patients. If nurses can provide these services in the out-of-hours period, they can also provide the same level of high quality care during the day.'

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