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Senior GP commissioner urges consortia to involve nurses

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One of England’s most senior GP commissioning directors is calling for consortia to recognise nurses are “best placed” to move care out of hospitals.

East of England director of GP commissioning Paul Zollinger-Read told Nursing Times he wanted nurses to get involved in the development of the consortia replacing primary care trusts.

He said: “One off the key QIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) themes is to move care out of hospitals. Who’s best placed to ensure that? It’s nurses.”

Nurses would “absolutely” need to be part of establishing new ways of delivering services due to their close relationship with patients, he said.

Until last month Dr Zollinger-Read was chief executive of NHS Cambridgeshire, in the heart of health secretary Andrew Lansley’s constituency.

He is encouraging consortia in the region to engage nurses and has pledged to host a workshop showcasing the work that nurses are already carrying out.

His comments come amid growing support for Nursing Times’ campaign for all consortia to give nurses a seat on the board.

However, Dr Zollinger-Read stopped short of saying that every consortium should have a nurse on its board, saying that not all consortia would have boards and he did not wish to “dictate” the future structure of the emerging organisations.

Royal College of Nursing eastern regional lead Karen Webb said she was still encouraged by Dr Zollinger-Read’s response.

She said: “It has taken a year of nudging. He has made it clear that he can’t dictate to GPs but he is very committed to supporting [nurses].

“What he’s anxious to avoid is being seen to dictate to the GPs. That would potentially provoke a negative reaction.”

The comments follow last week’s letter from NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson stating that the clusters of PCTs being formed would need to contain a director of nursing.

We’re going viral! Have you friends heard about the ‘seat on the board’ petition? Let’s ensure nurses are actively involved in the new commissioning consortia.

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