A £0.4m scheme to train more practice nurses in Yorkshire and the Humber is to be launched by Health Education England.
The initiative, which will provide funding for 50 people in 2016, is aimed at newly-qualified nurses leaving pre-registration education in order to “attract the new generation” into general practice as their first job.
“General practice needs to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population…At the same time, the primary care workforce is ageing”
GPs will be able to apply for £8,000 per nurse if they agree to employ a new registrant for two years and provide support for learning. This will include providing an experienced registrant as an educational supervisor and help with accessing training courses. In the second year they must also ensure the new recruit can take up a mentorship programme approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
HEE noted that GP practices tended to recruit nurses already working in the primary care sector, which meant they were “in essence moving the workforce around” rather than bringing in a new supply.
The Queens Nursing Institute, which represents primary and community nurses, found a third of practice nurses were due to retire by 2020 in a recent major report on the workforce
“General practice is at a major crossroads,” said HEE. ”It needs to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population who have more complex and long term health conditions than ever before.
“At the same time, the primary care workforce too is ageing, with staff recruited not matching the numbers who have left – or soon will,” said the workforce planning body in its briefing on the new initiative, called the General Practice Nurse (GPN) Ready Scheme.
HEE said other efforts to boost practice nurse numbers – such as those nurses coming back to the profession through “return to practice” programmes – had so far not made a “substantial difference” to staffing levels.
It also said it was “mindful” that when general practices recruited nurses from secondary care, they were taking them from a setting with its own significant staff shortages.
A spokeswoman for HEE told Nursing Times that there are no plans to extend the initiative to other regions of England at the present.
- Read more about the initiative: A scheme to increase practice nurse numbers