RCGP chairman calls for GPs to take back 24-hour care

One of the UK's leading GPs has called for the expansion of practice nurse roles to enable GPs to offer longer consultations and commission 24-hour care for patients.

Professor Steve Field: nurses must take on more work from GPs

Speaking at an NHS Confederation conference in London last week, RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field called for nurses to take on many of the tasks that GPs do to improve patient care and free up GP time.

 ‘[GPs] need to have consultations with our patients lasting around 15-20 minutes. We should focus on the whole of the patient and provide continuity of care,' he added.

‘What we are not are minor illness walk-in-centre people. When a GP sees a patient, that patient should become the centre of their universe.'

GPs need to work in an integrated system with practice nurses, and there should be more focus on the whole team, not just on GPs, even though ‘many GPs will feel threatened by this', said Professor Field.

‘Gone are the days when a GP could work in isolation, we need to work in groups and in federations to deliver and commission services,' he said.

‘One of the worst things we did as GPs was to give up the responsibility for commissioning 24-hour care.

‘GPs should take back that responsibility for 24-hour care, although this poses challenges to the GP contract.'

Professor Field called for more nurses and advanced nurse practitioners in primary care. He added that the RCGP was launching a forum for practice nurses as part of efforts to increase its focus on the primary care team.

Editors' Blog: GPs must decide now on 24-hour care

Read this week's Independent Nurse dated 19 October for the full version of this story.

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