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Nurses urged to challenge GPs' power base

Nurses are being encouraged to be more aggressive in taking over practices and challenging GPs' power base.

At a recent Government conference for PCT managers, one of the first nurses to take over a practice said her contemporaries had to 'keep enemies close' and 'not be afraid to challenge the status quo'.

Joanne Davidson, who co- runs two practices in the West Midlands and employs three GPs, also advised nurses to

establish their own power base and get legal advice.

Around 12 practices in the UK are run by nurse partners, but the figures are set to rise because the new contract allows any 'contractor' to run a GMS practice.

Speaking to Pulse, Ms Davidson said nurses had to become more 'forthright and confident' in seeking to run practices.

'There was some opposition from GPs when we started with concerns raised that this was selling out to nurses but I think that has changed now and there is more acceptance of different ways of working,' she said.

'For too long nurses who wanted to do this kind of thing have met opposition and decided to give up but I think that is changing.'

Nurse Catherine Baraniak, who holds the contract to run the Meadowfields Practice, Derbyshire, agreed nurses were becoming more assertive about their role within primary care.

But she denied nurses were looking to replace GPs.

'We are not trying to take over the GP's role, that is a common mistake that is being made and one we need to put right.'

GPC member and Derby-shire LMC secretary Dr John Grenville said the aggressive approach espoused by nurses was 'disappointing'.

He added he was not against the principle of nurse-run practices, but clinical

responsibility was a problem.

He said: 'If the GP is employed he goes home at the end of the day and anything else is not their responsibility. My concern is that the person whose responsibility it is to run the practice can't give adequate clinical care.'

By Joe Lepper

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