A leading GP has been criticised by the RCN for saying the NHS was ‘dumbing down’ by giving nurses extended roles.
Speaking at a Labour Party conference fringe event last week, deputy chairman of the BMA’s GP committee Dr Richard Vautrey said: “My concern recently is that we seem to be dumbing down services. Nurses have taken on doctors’ roles, healthcare assistants have taken on nurses’ roles, who knows who is going to take on the HCAs’ roles.
“The risk is if you dumb down… because that is potentially a cheaper service, it isn’t necessarily a better service. We need to invest in enough people…in the right places,” he said during a debate on whether there would be enough jobs for clinicians currently in training.
But RCN president Maura Buchanan said she took “exception” to the phrase dumbing down. “Nurses particularly have looked at patient needs and patient care and done some amazing work around developing skills and services. It’s not dumbing down, it’s improving healthcare,” she said.
RCN director of communications Amanda Callaghan added that rather than dumbing down, some parts of the nursing workforce had been skilled up. However, she said HCAs needed to be properly trained and regulated, and there had to be proper staffing levels.
“We know that when we don’t have the right staffing levels and we have an unregulated workforce, then we end up with situations like Mid Staffs and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells,” she added.
Is the NHS 'dumbing down' services?