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London consortium commits to nurse on its board


A pioneering GP consortium plans to give local practice nurses a vote to elect one of their number to a position on its board.

Nursing Times is campaigning to get a nurse on the board of every GP consortium – the new local bodies that will take over control of most NHS spending decisions from primary care trusts in the next couple of years.

Ministers have so far stood firm on the policy that they will not prescribe to consortia about their make-up, including the inclusion of nurses.

But a consortium currently being set up in Islington, north London, has told Nursing Times it plans to have a practice nurse vote on decisions as a board member, alongside seven GPs, a practice manager and two patients.

The interim chair of the organisation, Gillian Greenhough, said “it would be a mistake not to include them”, given their crucial role in managing long-term conditions.

She said: “Islington has a large population with long term conditions. Practice nurses are our main players in helping people manage those conditions. This will get even more important with the move towards more integrated care.”

Dr Greenhough added that there were also other areas where practice nurses have a “big impact”.

“They have a massive role in the screening programmes… and have the best overview of them. Even something like dressings, a big expense, they have a massive impact on,” she said. “They are just an integral part of practice.”

The consortium’s move comes as senior political sources suggest there are likely to be significant changes to the government’s proposed reforms in coming months, potentially including a requirement for nurses to sit on consortia boards.

But sources have told Nursing Times the government was increasingly aware of the danger to patient care from excluding nurses.

Have you signed our petition to ensure nurses have a seat on consortia boards? Follow @Aseatontheboard on twitter follow for all the latest campaign news!


Readers' comments (6)

  • Oh, one Nurse amongst seven GPs, a practice manager and two patients???? I'm sorry are they being condescending or just taking the ****?

    Nurses should not be 'part of', we should not be included as an afterthought, we should be helping to run and influence the NHS in equal measure!!!!

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  • I agree, and the nurse will be a 'nice one' that will smile and go along with whatever is proposed.

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  • A practice nurse that they employ!

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  • Absolutely agree with the two anons above, just look at the current shower of Nurse leaders (Beasley for example) if you want an example of that. We do not need anyone at the top who will simply smile and nod obediently whilst collecting a big pay cheque, we need someone who will drive through reforms to better patient care and ensure best practice and will not take no for an answer, we need someone who will argue for Nurses and declare that we are a powerful profession - not just the downtrodden handmaidens that many perceive us as - and demand that our voices be heard. We need someone who will put the Nursing profession right at the head of the table where it belongs.

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  • Natalie Jewell

    100% Agree with your most recent comment Mike.

    I also understand the frustration about there being just one nurse alongside several GPs but the reality is that most practices have more GPs than nurses. I think practice nurses need to grab the opportunity to see and be seen. We do not have to be the weak profession we are led to believe we are or that some would like us to be. But great things come to those who wait: if we snap up every opportunity going we can move things a long way forward.

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  • Natalie I see your point, but I would argue that in the whole scheme of things, primary and secondary care included and not just GP practices, the truth is is that WE - the Nurses - make up the majority of the health workforce, and these new 'consortium's' need to reflect that. As I have said in other posts, if every Staff Nurse walked out tomorrow, there would be no health service. Period. You cannot say that about GP's. It is the Staff Nurse, from newly qualified, right through to to Nurse Practitioners and specialist Nurses, who have the most direct day to day contact and influence on patient care and treatment, not the GP's, and this is slowly increasing year after year. For example, many of us now prescribe, and it is only a matter of time before that is the norm for all Nurses. Walk in centres can theoretically do anything a GP surgery can do, held back only by public perception/expectations (thinking a Nurse led walk in centre cannot deal with their problems for example but only a GP can), etc etc etc. But other than that you are right, I really do want to believe that our profession can move forward, I hope now is the time that our profession finally starts to grab hold of those opportunities.

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