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Nurses will always depend on GPs' advice

So Professor Bonnie Sibbald believes the nurses of tomorrow will look like the GPs of today

I'd agree that specialist nurses have their niche, but there are very few members of staff with the training and ability to fit it.

Certainly trained nurses working to set protocols can manage chronic disease very well. But the situation gets more complex when nurses reach the limit of their knowledge and experience.

Where experienced GPs have limitations, they call on their secondary care colleagues. Similarly, although nurses usually work independently, this is in a supervised capacity, with GPs there to talk to.

Of course, if nurses were trained as rigorously as GPs, they would be GPs. But it's far too simplistic to compare all nurses with all GPs and say one can do the other's job. That is fiction.

The amount of training even specialist nurses receive is usually shorter and not of the same breadth. They will therefore always be dependent on doctors.

Can nurses do a GP's job without recourse to doctors for advice on problems? Ask the ones who actually do it.

Dr Rupen Kulkarni, Redditch, West Midlands

We need nurses to work alongside GPs.

There should be a boundary up to which they could be trained and made effective in managing minor illness and chronic disease management, with advice from GPs.

But if a culture is developed where any GP work could be done by nurses without basic medical school knowledge and training, then there would be no need for any medical schools and there wouldn't be any GPs running general practice.

Dr Manimaran Thiyagarajan, South Wales

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