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Practice nurses fearful about their future training and support

Primary care nurses fear their training and support networks will collapse with the abolition of primary care trusts.

Last month’s white paper said “oversight” of local training and education for healthcare providers would be by GP consortia, which are due to replace PCTs from 2013.

Research by Nursing Times suggested that a minority of PCTs have ringfenced practice nurse education schemes and designated leads for practice nurse education.

Practice nurses are concerned that even these will disappear.

Bradford practice nurse and cardiovascular lead nurse Jan Proctor King said: “The focus will be on commissioning and not in the development of personnel. Support, education and development won’t be anybody’s priority.”

But she said: “My immediate concern is that as PCTs are faced with being reduced, the education facilitators and nurse leaders will lose their roles – people who support the new raft of practice nurses.”

Community and District Nurse Association director Anne Duffy agreed. She said: “The biggest [concern] is the cut backs in education, further training and professional development in primary care nurses.”

She said: “Will current levels of professionalism still continue to exist?”

Readers' comments (4)

  • They will as long as Nurses FIGHT for them, which as it appears they won't do. Nurses in general are too apathetic or spineless to stand up for the profession and make their voices heard, so when the GP's take over the purse strings of course they will use it to ring fence their own practices budgets and feather their own nests more, whilst at the same time sending Nursing back about 20 years by not allocating the budget for our training or practice.

    Not that I'm cynical.

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  • Although I do not agree with the above's exteme comments having worked as a practice nurse for 18 years it has always been hard to find the time and money to train further. The government wants LTCs to be managed in the comunity who will do this? I am now teaching a practice nurse course and out of the 8 students that started only 3 completed due to lack of funding, support or even a job!!GPS are and have always been reluctant to hand over the cash for PN training-the nurse practitioner I am currently training paid for the course herself as the GPS refused.

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  • CandyEFH

    Education for Health regularly contributes to discussions and thinktanks on funding for practice nurse training and education, but this article is also focusing on the potential loss of support networks for practice nurses. So many practice nurses work in very small groups, or even isolation. Education for Health's Clinical Lead for Long Term Conditions and Improving Health, Rhian Last says "The work that PCT Practice Nurse Leads have undertaken to build up local networks of practice nurses and source funding opportunities for training and education, has been both exemplary and vital. To lose all this would be a very great shame."

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  • I am fortunate enough to work in a GP practice, where training is considered vital. Funding has been available to complete various CDM diplomas and a nurse practitioner degree, some of the funding has been from the practice itself, some from the PCT and some from pharmaceutical company budgets. I have networked through the local district to discover courses available for team members and suggested courses where they do not exist.

    Nursing/Nurses often sit back and wait for training/advice to be handed to us rather than leading the way in finding available resources. We should be lobbying GP consortia groups now to appoint nurse leads for education and training before the , and nurses should be lobbying to have a seat on the Consortia boards, I know my GP consortia does not have a nurse on the board and the chairman could give no sensible naswer as to why this was the case.

    Both professions have to undertake CPD in order to show fitness to practice, so I don't think training will disappear, but the quality and bredth of the education available needs to be determined by Nurses. We need to stop moaning to other colleagues and partners and start making our voices heard locally and nationally.

    Instead of national stories and threads about nurses arguing over new uniform texture, think how often do you see headlines about doctors discussing these topics. Instead we should be debating about ethics, care quality, professionalism, best practice.

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