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Polyclinics will employ “three times more nurses than GPs”

12 September 2008

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Nurses will outnumber GPs by three to one in a national network of polyclinics, a report by Pulse has claimed.

Pulse obtained information on proposed staffing ratios for polyclinics under a Freedom of Information request through the Department of Health.

In response to the report, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) chief executive, Dr Peter Carter, said: “This is not about nurses instead of GPs.

“World-class primary care is dependent upon the right number of doctors and nurses continuing to work well together to help provide the best possible services.

“This report recognises the already exceptional work nurses provide and will further expand the role of nurses throughout GP-led health centres across the country.

“However, nurses will only able to provide this high-quality care if the government invests in more community nurses to deliver care closer to home.”


Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

I cannot help but wonder if these clinics should now be renamed? ‘Polynurse clinics’ seems to be an accurate trade description? It is a pity that trade descriptions do not need to be accurate as far as the term ‘government’ is concerned.” – Alan Moore, Cheshire

“Absolutely – if anything it doesn’t go far enough! Let’s remember the role of both nurse practitioners and practice nurses here. From a management point of view, it makes good economic sense and as long as there is enough clinical support from GPs available for the nurses concerned it should mean increased access to an appropriate health professional for patients” – Name and address withheld

“Depends on what the polyclinics are expected to do. If they are faced with the same performance/access requirements as the rest of us, they are an experiment doomed to failure. If they are allowed to cream off chronic disease management work, then the ratio is probably right, but that will leave them surrounded by decimated and demoralised traditional practices. As always, the devil is in the detail” – Andrew Clark, Derbyshire