Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Should Nurses Replace GPs As Frontline Providers Of Primary Care?

Date:
September 6, 2008
Source:
University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology
Summary:
Should nurses be the frontline providers of primary care, taking the place of general practitioners as the first point of patient contact? Two experts debate the issue. Nurses can deliver as high quality care as general practitioners in most areas of general practice including preventive health care, the management of long term conditions, and first contact care for people with minor illness, according to one expert.

Should nurses be the frontline providers of primary care, taking the place of general practitioners as the first point of patient contact? Two experts debate the issue on the British Medical Journal website.

Nurses can deliver as high quality care as general practitioners in most areas of general practice including preventive health care, the management of long term conditions, and first contact care for people with minor illness, writes Bonnie Sibbald, Professor of health services research at the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester.

She argues that substituting nurses for doctors has the potential to improve the efficiency of primary health care. Too often GPs provide the same services as nurses and this leads to duplication rather than substitution of care. In fact, she says, GPs skills would be better used to tackle more complex health problems which have a higher degree of uncertainty about their diagnosis and treatment.

According to Sibbald, general practices in the UK are already aware of the value of nurses to improve the scope and quality of primary care. Over the last twenty years, there has been a rapid expansion in the numbers of practice nurses recruited to meet new service contracts. For instance, nurses now provide immunisations, vaccinations, and cervical screening services and will be a key part of meeting the quality of care targets for people with long term conditions set out in the General Medical Services contract of 2004.

She believes that recent changes to legislation, such as the right for qualified nurses to prescribe licensed medicines, have begun to allow nurses to realise their full potential. This trend, she concludes, must be followed "to its logical conclusion, acknowledging nurses to be the true frontline providers of primary care"& [while the] "general practitioners' role should evolve to become that of a consultant in primary care receiving referrals from nurses".

But Dr Rhona Knight, a GP from Leicester who has first hand experience in a nurse led practice, argues that nurse led primary care would restrict patient choice and undermine the importance of nurses' unique contribution to primary health care. She acknowledges that patients report a high level of satisfaction with nurse consultations, but points to evidence that patients prefer to consult with a GP if they think their symptoms are serious. She points out that GPs' training takes 10 years and that they are hugely experienced in dealing with undifferentiated illness which enables them to be key deliverers and leaders of generalist healthcare. In contrast, she says, advanced nurse training is less developed and recommends a minimum of only 500 indirect or direct supervised hours and the competencies cover "just nine pages".

Currently, she says, a lack of nationally agreed standards means that nurses have varied roles with inconsistent training, knowledge, experience and titles. Nurses would need increased training and a similar curriculum to GPs to be able to take the lead in dealing with all illnesses, she argues. One solution could be for nurses to take a graduate health science medical course and train to be a GP and be appropriately rewarded for this role, she concludes.

In an accompanying feature, Rebecca Coombes outlines some of the major impediments to senior nurses taking on some medical roles including a lack of professional regulation, low pay, and cultural objections from doctors.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. "Should Nurses Replace GPs As Frontline Providers Of Primary Care?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080905072126.htm>.
University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. (2008, September 6). Should Nurses Replace GPs As Frontline Providers Of Primary Care?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080905072126.htm
University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. "Should Nurses Replace GPs As Frontline Providers Of Primary Care?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080905072126.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Doctors once thought artificial sweeteners lacked the health risks of sugar, but a new study says they can impact blood sugar levels the same way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) A healthy British volunteer is to become the first person to receive a new vaccine for the Ebola virus after US President Barack Obama called for action against the epidemic and warned it was "spiralling out of control." Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Researchers are puzzled as to why obesity rates remain relatively stable as average waistlines continue to expand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins