Information for General Practice Nursing Workforce

The following provides key messages and information for the general practice nursing workforce and could also be used as a briefing note in team meetings

As many of you will know, the General Practice Forward View (GPFV) published in April 2016 pledged a major expansion of the primary care workforce. To meet rising demand, members of the primary care team, including nurses, pharmacists, mental health therapists and physician associates will play an increasing role in providing day to day co-ordination and delivery of care.

To provide a highly-skilled General Practice Nursing (GPN) workforce, the GPFV includes investment to fund a support and development programme for nursing teams in primary care over four years. The plan is aimed at raising the profile of general practice nursing as a first destination career, improving access to training, increasing the number of pre-registration nurse placements, enhancing retention and supporting return to work schemes for practice nurses.

Crucial Ipsos Mori research took place last year which some of you may have taken part in. This research, including findings from the Queens Nursing Institute (QNI) General Practice Nursing in the 21 Century – a time of opportunity fed into the publication of the General Practice Nursing (GPN) Workforce Development Plan – Recognise, Rethink and Reform led by Health Education England in March this year.

On 27 July, we published a ten point action plan, General Practice – Developing confidence, capability and capacity: a ten point action plan for General Practice Nursing which includes a number of key actions to support and strengthen the GPN workforce and enable you to develop your leadership skills.

The Ipsos Mori research and HEE’s plan provide the baseline for the action plan and clearly highlight how we have listened to GPNs and involved you in shaping the plan. The research and ten point action plan aligns closely with and supports delivery of Leading Change, Adding Value (LCAV); a framework for nursing, midwifery and care staff.

LCAV will help you focus on where change can be made and how to do this. This GPN ten point action plan will support you to implement LCAV, focusing on increasing and improving prevention, improving the quality of care and delivering value for money. It will help you as GPNs and the nursing workforce to focus on demonstrating your contribution to reducing the three gaps identified in the Five Year Forward View – the health and well-being gap, the care and quality gap, and the funding and efficiency gap.

You must be in the forefront of leading change by delivering better health outcomes in primary care, and by making primary care ‘the place to be’ for ambitious nurses who deliver world class care and support our population to live well.

The GPN ten point action plan sets out the measures required to bring about the changes that are needed, which will be taken forward by NHS England, Health Education England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England, The Royal College of Nursing, The Royal College of General Practitioners and the Queens Nursing Institute. These organisations will support commissioners and providers to implement the actions at local level. Delivery of this Ten Point Action Plan at a local level will be supported by one of four Regional GPN Delivery Boards.

From 2017-18 to 2020-21 we will:

  • Recognise the existing GPN workforce and their contribution, as well as raising the profile of general practice nursing and healthcare support workers, and promote general practice as a first destination career.
  • Extend leadership and educator roles
  • Increase the number of pre-registration placements in general practice
  • Establish inductions and preceptorships
  • Improve access to ‘return to practice’ programmes
  • Embed and deliver a radical upgrade in prevention
  • Support access to educational programmes to deliver national priorities as set out in the Five Year Forward View
  • Increase access to clinical academic careers and advanced clinical practice programmes, including nurses working in advanced practice roles in general practice
  • Develop Healthcare support worker (HCSW), apprenticeship and nursing associate career pathways
  • Improve retention.

Finally, I want to thank you for all your support and I look forward to working with you all to realise the potential and significant leadership role that you have. You have the power and influence to contribute to and shape primary care services of the future and this action plan will help you and your colleagues achieve this.

Professor Jane Cummings
Chief Nursing Officer for England

For further information and updates:

For regular information and updates, please use the following resources to stay in touch with how the plan will be implemented at a local level and how you can help shape, lead and transform general practice nursing.