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.
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