General practices could improve clinical outcomes if they employed more nurses per number of patients, the latest UK research suggests.
Previous research has compared performance against practice size, GP numbers and list size, but few studies have directly considered the contribution of nursing.
The research team, led by NNRU director Peter Griffiths, looked at data from 7,456 practices, contrasting nurse numbers against performance in the quality and outcomes framework – the part of the GP contract which financially rewards practices for achieving selected clinical targets.
The research, due to be published in the next edition of the British Journal of General Practice, found practices that employed more full-time equivalent registered nurses per number of patients performed better in QOF targets for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.
The authors said: “Real patient benefit may be associated with using nurses to deliver care to meet QOF targets.
“There may be scope to further shift the skill mix in primary care from doctors to qualified nurses.”