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GPs forced to plug nurse prescribing safety gap

GPs are being forced to plug a worrying gap, supervising ‘cautious' nurse prescribers, new research confirms.

The findings are set to fuel mounting concern over the recent explosion in nurse prescribing and pile pressure on GPs to assume a formal unpaid mentoring role.

Results were based on qualitative data from 49 participants, including GPs, nurses, pharmacists and patients, across 19 practices. The research will be presented next week at the North American Primary Care Research Group annual meeting.

Both GPs and nurses told researchers they were worried about the lack of supervision

PACT data was also collected to examine nurse prescribing patterns, confirming massive increase in nurse prescribing in recent years.

Lead author Dorothy McCaughan, research fellow at the Centre for Evidence Based Nursing, University of York, said the results indicated nurses were ‘cautious prescribers' who would gain from more guidance:

‘To expand and develop their roles as independent prescribers, nurses said that they could benefit from regular feedback on their prescribing practice from their GP and other colleagues, and further opportunities for continuing professional development,' she said.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GP negotiator and a GP in Leeds, said there was no funding for GP supervision.

‘There is no direct funding. If a practice was taking on a nurse with a prescribing role they would need to factor in the full cost of their employment and make sure that they were working in a safe way,' he said.

Professor Tony Avery, head of primary care at the University of Nottingham and a GP in the city said GPs were the ‘obvious candidates' for providing more formalised supervision.

Earlier this year , GPs at the LMC conference called for the GPC to negotiate a ‘defined role and an agreed fee' for GP mentoring of nurse prescribers.

Pharmacy prescribing

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