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In its submission the NAGP has urged the Government to “urgently redirect” funding presently assigned for community health nurses to practice nurses.
The NAGP says the Government’s recent commitment to provide an additional 900 community health nurses would be better utilised in General Practice.
“Practice nurses are an invaluable part of the GP practice team. By deploying these resources as practice nurses, the GPs will be better resourced to care for patients in the community,” said NAGP chairman Dr Andrew Jordan.
“Committing to the immediate recruitment of 900 additional practice nurses would support acute care and the delivery of Chronic Disease Management (CDM) in the community. Extra practice nurses would ensure more patients are seen in a timely manner and would assist the capacity crisis in General Practice”.
The NAGP insists that if GPs are to work to standards set by the national clinical programmes, they will need more nursing support in their practices.
Community health nurses are not currently part of the practice team says the NAGP. In its pre-budget submission the Association argues that investing in more community care nurses will “only lead to another silo of community services that are detached and unaccountable to the primary care physician – and therefore will add to the fragmentation of care”.
Dr Jordan added , “By investing in practice nurses, the Government will ensure better patient outcomes, reduced healthcare costs and higher levels of satisfaction, by keeping care in the community. Practice nurses who work alongside the GP as part of a functioning team can deliver more integrated and coherent healthcare services in the community”.