What does the Ten Point Action Plan Mean for General Nursing?

On the 27 July 2017, the Chief Nursing Officer of NHS England launched a ten point action plan to develop the role that general practice nurses play in the NHS. Recognising the potential general practice nurses have to transform patient care in the UK, this plan aims to future-proof NHS services, with the empowerment of nurses as its driving force.

According to NHS England, the main objectives of the General Practice Ten Point Action Plan are to develop confidence, capability and capacity. They say the Plan “brings together key actions which aim to meet general practice workforce challenges by attracting new recruits, supporting existing GPNs and encouraging return to practice.”

With a a £15 million investment backing the movement, the Plan intends to improve patient access to care, provide more individualised care in the community, and enhance the focus on prevention and general health in the population at large.

The action plan sets out the work needed to deliver more convenient access to care, more personalised care in the community and a stronger focus on prevention and population health driving better outcomes and experience for patients.

The General Practice Ten Point Action Plan

Through the implementation of the Plan, the government hopes to increase recruitment in general practice nursing by improving the image of the career, offering more clinical placements for nursing students and diversifying the available routes into the sector. It also endeavours to support existing general practice nurses by creating an induction programme for new nurses, plus developing mentoring and expanding leadership and career development opportunities. Finally, the Plan hopes to encourage nurses who have left the field to return to practice.

But how will this all be implemented? The official General Practice Ten Point Action Plan document describes the stages as follows:

1. Celebrate and raise the profile of general practice nursing and promote general practice as a first destination career.

2. Extend leadership and educator roles.

3. Increase the number of pre-registration placements in general practice.

4. Establish inductions and preceptorships.

5. Improve access to ‘return to practice’ programmes.

6. Embed and deliver a radical upgrade in prevention.

7. Support access to educational programmes.

8. Increase access to clinical academic careers and advanced clinical practice programmes, including nurses working in advanced practice roles in general practice.

9. Develop healthcare support worker (HCSW), apprenticeship and nursing associate career pathways.

10. Improve retention.

The deliverables of different action areas of this plan will be led by NHS England, Public Health England (PHE), Health Education England (HEE) and NHS Improvement (NHSI). The first case studies detailing general practice nursing’s contribution to the ‘Leading Change, Adding Value’ campaign will be published in December 2018, and will provide an insight into the effectiveness of the Plan’s implementation in its first year. Following this, there will be an implementation update in January 2019.

What does the Plan mean for nursing?

In a sector that is currently under the strain of reduced funding, increased demand and a recruitment deficit, the General Practice Ten Point Action Plan is an initiative being widely welcomed by healthcare professionals up and down the country. It is no secret that many nurses are currently struggling under the pressure of the job – many report suffering from stress, and others are leaving the field.

The Plan hopes to reinstate the image of nursing as a rewarding career full of opportunity for personal and professional development – a role that truly impacts communities in a positive way.

We can expect the new programme to both increase resources in terms of educational funding and training facilities, as is evident in the recent introduction of the Nursing Diploma that allows aspiring nurses to get into the profession through an alternative route to university degrees. If the government’s promises are fulfilled, we will also see nurses being recognised for the important work they do, and empowered to lead positive change for the general wellbeing of their communities.

It is likely that practices and practitioners alike will take this as an opportunity to look for alternative ways to fill the shortfall in their human resources and services. This may lead more general practices towards employing out of hours health practitioners. Local councils may also decide to increase the numbers of palliative care nurses and community nurses in their districts. Professionals may also be attracted to out of hours nursing jobs due to the increased flexibility, preferential hours, and more generous salaries these roles offer.

If you are interested in working as an out of hours nurse, find out more and contact us today on 03000 243 333.