Pay GPs to mentor nurse prescribers

GPs should not undertake mentoring of nurse prescribers unless they are paid, the GPC is set to recommend.

Nursing organisations have condemned the proposed move as an attempt to ‘scupper nurse prescribing by the back door’.

The row was sparked by Camden and Islington LMC, which warned local GPs to be cautious about mentoring nurse prescribers when the work was unfunded.

The LMC claimed the nurse prescribing course was too short and ‘could have possible implications for the safety of patients’.

Dr Peter Fellows, chairman of the GP prescribing sub-committee of the BMA, said this was an ongoing issue for GPs and he expected the GPC to take action soon.

‘The training for nurse prescribing, in our opinion, is probably adequate but we are worried about the methods for updating that training,’ he said.

‘It also takes a lot of time for GPs to mentor nurse prescribers. Professional time costs money. While GPs may be happy to go on mentoring their own nurses they are not going to continue doing it without remuneration for district nurses and health visitors. ‘I would hope the nursing unions would support us on this as being fairly paid for professional time should be a common goal,’ he said.

However, Barbara Stuttle, chairwoman of the Association for Nurse Prescribers, said she thought that GPs were acting ‘like toddlers’.

‘Why they could not have arranged to meet with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and with ourselves to discuss this issue like adults I don’t know,’ she said.

‘But I think I should point out that if nurses refused to do everything they were not paid for then the NHS would grind to a halt. We are all working for a common aim.

‘Doctors complain they are overworked but then refuse to help with an initiative designed to help them and treat patients more quickly.’

One in four nurse practitioners believe their role is not being used to its full potential, according to an RCN survey (GP, 15 September). Half of nurse practitioners hold a prescribing qualification. More than 80 per cent of nurse prescribers expect the amount of prescribing they do will increase over the next six to 12 months, according to a survey by GP’s sister publication Independent Nurse last month. Thirty-five per cent expected it to increase significantly.

  • GPs advised to take on mentor role only if paid.
  • Nurse prescribing courses accused of being ‘too short’.
  • Nurse practitioners feel their role is not being used to its full capability.

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