The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, compared the costs to practices of consultations by GPs and nurse practitioners in general practices in The Netherlands.
The researchers found costs at study practices were lower for nurse practitioner consultations than for GP consultations.
‘From a general practice perspective, direct costs of nurse practitioner consultations were significantly less than those of GP consultations,' they concluded.
The researchers added that, when they compared nurse practitioner and GP consultations, no significant differences in outcome or process measures were found.
A separate study published in the same issue found that practices that employ more nurses perform better on a number of clinical domains in the quality framework (QOF).
The resesearchers behind this second study found that improved performance included better intermediate clinical outcomes. This suggests that real patient benefit may be associated with using nurses to deliver care to meet QOF targets, they said.