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RCN attacks GP commissioners for appointing wives as nursing representatives


A senior nursing leader has accused some GPs involved in setting up commissioning groups of “nepotism”, claiming they have appointed their practice nurse wives to decision-making posts.

Royal College of Nursing director of nursing Janet Davies said emerging commissioning consortia – which are due to take over from primary care trusts – should instead appoint experienced senior nurses with the skills needed for commissioning.

Nursing Times’ Seat On The Board campaign is calling for all commissioning consortia to put a nurse on their board, with latest figures suggesting around a third of emerging consortia currently do so.

But, speaking at a conference in London last week, Ms Davies said: “We are already seeing some commissioning consortia appointing their favourite nurses onto the board. We must avoid that nepotism.”

As an example, she said in some cases the nurse on the board was a “GP’s wife”. “They [the nurses appointed] don’t actually have the [commissioning] skills, with some exceptions,” she warned.

Ms Davies also called for the government to develop the status and role of primary care nurses who, she said, were not subject to standard contract terms – unlike those in the wider NHS who were covered by Agenda for Change.  She highlighted that GPs could “pay them whatever they want”.

She said if the NHS provided “proper [career] pathways within primary care for primary care nurses…that could help turn around some of the problems and bring the profession on board [with the reforms]”.

Ms Davies said there should be “a new breed of nurses in primary care”, including more “senior nurses and nurse consultants”.

She said nurses should become “the key healthcare provider” in the sector and work “across providers [organisations]”.

She said: “There is missed potential on what we could do with these individuals.”


Readers' comments (15)

  • Is anyone REALLY surprised at this? Welcome to the new NHS!!!

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  • lansley's wife is a GP, hardley surprising this is it

    agree with above comment, welcome to your new NHS!!!

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  • ditto, no surprise here, just an opportunity to develop 'them and us', the 'have's and have nots', and keep the rest of us nurses 'in our place'

    Welcome indeed :((

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  • We have two thirds of commissioning consortia who have yet to appoint a nurse on the board (if they ever do). And with the nepotism that appears to be occuring in the remaining third; once again the Nursing profession, the backbone of the NHS, allowing itself to be walked over.

    The RCN's reply, "That's a bit rubbish. We don't really like that...mumble, mumble"

    We should be kicking in the door and planting our backsides on these boards, whilst daring them to exclude us.

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  • What am I saying?! Never mind getting ourselves on GP commissioning boards, let's just ditch the whole concept. It's a bad idea, being made so much worse by the way it's being implemented.

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  • I agree Mags, apart from the fact that we should be kicking the damn door down and then RUNNING the consortia!!! WE should be the ones to include Doctors in OUR NHS!!!!

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  • As a further note, isn't it just very telling on how our profession is perceived by Doctors, the government and even the general public? Are we REALLY still seen as second rate Doctors handmaidens? There is an article by the editor about the perception of our profession (and a whole series on the subject) where I have ranted about this before, but as I said before, it is time for a fundamental change in our profession. It is time we took control.

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  • i feel for years nurses has been looked down by GPs, government, managers with no nursing background.
    I can’t understand why though.
    we are educated to the higher standard at universities (with Hon BSC) however GP's still think we have less valuable and knowledgeable. It is time to make our voice heard loud and clear without nurses especially in community there is no money saving will happen. We have to re-organise ourselves and put our terms and conditions forward. Our aim remains the same providing quality service .

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  • I do run my service.
    here in singapore.
    asia-where its at folks.
    or over the border-scotland hasnt done this stupidity.
    mind u why isnt iindividual pay for nurses a good thing?
    I negotiate my contract and it works well.
    you can have lowest pay limits and leave folks to negotiate so they get paid to their ability levels

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  • Of course most GPs look down on us mere nurses. As a specialist nurse I once asked a patient who was going to visit their GP that same week if they could ask him to do a sitting and standing BP as I did not have easy access to a sphyg. The GP, who has such equipment in their office within easy reach, did not comply with my reasonable request but directed the patient back to me. The BP check arguably should have been part of a general check up rather than part of my specialist clinic appointment. Why are GPs called General Practitioners if they refuse to do fundamental tasks such as checking a patient's BP? And where better to carry out any follow-up checks than at a local GP Surgery? The BP check was to rule out any cardiac problem, and did not form part of my standard assessment process.

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