A significant number of GP practices are struggling to hit new Care Quality Commission standards incorporating nurse access to training, Nursing Times has learnt.
The regulator’s chief executive Cynthia Bower said she hoped a requirement for all GP practices to register with the CQC by next April would act as a “lever” to improve training for practice nurses.
But she told Nursing Times that “staffing” was emerging in pilot studies for the new system as one of the 16 “essential standards” that GPs expected to find most challenging. This included whether they employed sufficient numbers of suitably qualified staff.
Under the CQC standards, GP practices must prove they employ “sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled and experienced persons” who receive “appropriate training [and] professional development” and are “enabled…to obtain further qualifications”.
Around one in 10 practices are expected to be at “significant risk” of non compliance with one or more of the standards.
Nursing Times has previously revealed how increasingly patchy funding for practice nurse training has encouraged “uneasy” alliances with the pharmaceutical industry, which sometimes provide free courses and text books (news, page 1, 6 July 2010).
British Medical Association president David Haslam, who is helping the CQC with its GP registration work, said lack of access to training for practice nurses was “a huge issue”. There were “lots of internal negotiations and discussions going on” between practices and regulators about how to improve the situation, he said.
Tim Curry, assistant head of the nursing department at the Royal College of Nursing, said the creation of clinical commissioning groups could help practices to share training costs.
But he added they also needed to ensure there was sufficient staffing “backfill” to allow nurses to go on courses without having to close services for a day.