Editorial

General practice nursing: focusing on the ten-point action plan to transform the profession by 2020

Karen Storey reflects on her work at Health Education England and looks forward to fresh challenges in her new role as NHS England primary care nursing lead.

Karen Storey reflects on her work at Health Education England and looks forward to fresh challenges in her new role as NHS England primary care nursing lead


Karen Storey
Picture: John Houlihan

Change offers an opportunity to make a fresh start and embark on adventures, meet new people and experience novel thoughts and ideas. I have learned to stop fearing change and look at it as an opportunity to learn. I see this as an asset-based approach rather than a deficit approach, with the glass half full rather than half empty. It is hard, but I have practiced it over the years. 

£15 million investment

I leave Health Education England (HEE) equipped with knowledge about the general practice nursing workforce and the new primary care education organisation training hubs to become NHS England primary care nursing lead. My role will focus on the delivery of the general practice nursing ten-point plan, which is supported by £15 million investment to transform the profession by 2020.

‘This is the time for general practice nurses to embrace change, seize the day and get behind the plan’

The focus of the plan is on recruiting, retaining and returning nurses to address issues identified by the Queen’s Nursing Institute, which highlights that 33.4% of general practice nurses (GPNs) are due to retire in the next five to ten years. Work has already begun with training hubs to address these workforce issues.

Leadership and educator roles in place

The ten actions in the plan will be addressed through four Regional Delivery Boards across England, led by senior nurses from NHS England and HEE. Action point two has been the focus of delivery so far for the boards to ensure that GPN leadership and educator roles are in place.

I have been in the field of general practice and primary care for most of my career and opportunities like this do not come around very often. I am encouraged by the work to address the issues of variable terms and conditions of employment, which is long been overdue.

‘Opportunities like this do not come around very often’

This is the time for GPNs to embrace change, seize the day and get behind the plan. It is the time to ensure that the existing workforce is retained and can pass on their expertise to the next generation of GPNs and healthcare assistants.

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