News that a training course for practice nurse training is to be accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is significant.
Practice nurse training across the country is patchy, poorly provided and follows no set standards.
As practice nurses are employed by general practice, GPs need to be involved and taking responsibility for their training. This step to accredit the Foundations of General Practice Nursing course at Plymouth University is a sign that GPs are finally recognising the deficit in practice nurse training.
GPs are more likely to pay to send their staff on courses accredited by the RCGP so hopefully this will help improve access to training for practice nurses. The coming Care Quality Commission standards will also help.
By April next year under 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”.
Some GP practices will find it difficult to adhere to this standard and it will push them to look more closely at their staff training needs.
The lack of access and availability of practice nurse training has been accepted for so long but it is of course unacceptable – let’s hope this is a move forward.