Action plan launched for general practice nursing

England's chief nursing officer Jane Cummings says GPs must implement the new action plan for practice nursing. 

A ten-point action plan for general practice nursing (GPN) has been launched by England’s chief nurse, setting out key measures to boost the workforce

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Four regional GPN delivery boards are due to be set up next month and will be accountable for developing a local strategy for delivery of the action plan.

By January next year, NHS England and Health Education England (HEE) are expected establish a target for the number of additional GPNs who will be employed in general practice over the duration of the GP Forward View (GPFV), which is committed to improving general practice by 2020-21.

The action plan includes:

  • Raising the profile of nursing in general practice and improving retention of GPNs.
  • Increasing the number of pre-registration placements in general practice.
  • All nurses new to general practice will have access to an induction and professional development plan.
  • Expanding career opportunities and progression for GPNs.
  • Developing new career pathways into primary care nursing including nursing associates and healthcare assistants.

England’s chief nursing officer Jane Cummings said that the GPN delivery boards are likely to be chaired by a senior nurse, and there will also be practice nurse involvement along with representatives from HEE and organisations such as the RCN.

She said: ‘One of the positive things about the plan is that we’ve developed it with lots of different people and we want to replicate that at regional level.’

She added that the boards would report to her, NHS England and the director of commissioning responsible for the overarching GPFV.

Professor Cummings said: ‘It is important we recognise the critical role of GPNs and give them the focus they deserve.

'Positive result'

‘GPs cannot afford to be in a position where they do not implement this action plan. The positives as a result of implementation will be worth it.

‘The impact practice nurses can have on the GP workload is huge, especially if practice staff are doing the right jobs.  Nurses are working in different ways, like advanced nurse practitioners running their own clinics.

‘We tested this plan out with GPs before publication and the reaction has been positive.’

Research by the Queens Nursing Institute (QNI) published last year showed that a third of practice nurses expressed an intention to retire by 2020, which could equate to over 8,000 in the next three years.


QNI chief executive Crystal Oldman welcomed the plan and said it addressed issues raised by the charity including the importance of a wide-ranging policy approach to develop the GPN workforce.

RCN head of nursing practice Wendy Preston said the plan highlighted the ‘pivotal role’ of GPNs in delivering care closer to home.

‘With large numbers of the workforce set to retire in the next few years, we must not delay making general practice an attractive career for nurses.’

To read more details about the plan click here 

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