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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Darzi policies triggering staffing crisis, RCGP chair warns

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Government is heading for a staffing crisis as it aims to use nurses in place of GPs in Lord Darzi's GP-led health centres, the RCGP is warning.

Professor Steve Field, chair of the college, said serious deficiencies in training for primary care nurses would lead to a shortfall in suitably qualified practice staff.

He said problems were being overlooked in the drive to radically alter the workforce, and warned against using nurses simply to ‘make the numbers up'.

Pulse last week revealed GP-led health centres would employ three nurses to every GP, and undoctored-area practices three nurses to every four GPs.

But Professor Field said: ‘The training of nurses for primary care is inadequate. There's a real danger in how PCTs will be able to find adequate numbers of appropriately trained nurses to staff the new practices, let alone the health centres.'

‘Urgent attention is needed to reform nurse training so we can have adequate numbers of appropriately trained nurses. There needs to be an appropriate skill mix, not just enough to make the numbers up.'

Professor Field said the college had met with the DH in the last fortnight to offer assistance in workforce planning, but warned it would be difficult to train a large number of nurses overnight.

Professor Steve Field: claims Government is heading for staffing crisis Professor Steve Field: claims Government is heading for staffing crisis

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