More money being invested in nursing always gets our attention. This week in the General Practice Forward View, published on Thursday, NHS England said it would earmark an extra £2.4bn a year from the NHS budget for general practice services by 2020-21.
Nursing organisations have largely welcomed NHS England’s proposals on the future of primary care, with the Royal College of Nursing describing them as an “acknowledgment” of the importance of practice nurses.
NHS England has said the 14% rise in primary care spending will include “nationally funded support” for practice nurses and physician assistants, as well as practice managers and receptionists. The investment which aims to “get practice nursing back on its feet” includes a focus on return-to-work schemes.
However, as NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackey, said this week: “nobody is out of the woods yet”. Speaking at a senior nurse conference in Manchester this week, he reported that NHS workforce supply problems will continue for the next “few years” and, despite additional funding to transform services locally, significant financial efficiencies will still be required.
At the same conference, head of the RCN Janet Davies told delegates that the nursing profession has failed to identify priorities for research that make a difference to practice, while existing evidence is not easily accessible.
Priorities are clearly well identified at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS FT which has just become the third hospital trust in the country to be awarded an ‘outstanding’ rating by the CQC. Factors contributing to the top rating included a strong focus on safety, care based on the needs of patients, and trust-wide learning from incidents and complaints.
More nurses influencing national health policy is always good news in our book. Registered mental health nurse and chief executive of Central and North West London NHS FT, Claire Murdoch, has been appointed as the new NHS national mental health director. In her new national role, she will help to implement recommendations from a recent major report on improving mental health services.
Meanwhile, the consultation over changes to student nurse funding remains open but early reports show the potential removal of the NHS bursary is already impacting on career decisions. The Queen’s Nursing Institute chief executive, Crystal Oldman, has warned that parents are already advising their children not to study nursing as a consequence of the government’s plans.