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Warnings over nurse prescribing ignored

Ministers were warned as long ago as June 2005 of concerns that nurse prescribers would struggle to access adequate continuing professional development, Pulse can reveal.

The revelation came as this month's LMCs conference is set to debate a motion complaining that GPs are having to mentor nurses unpaid after a failure to implement a national programme of CPD.Documents obtained by Pulse under the Freedom of Information Act show the Government's non-medical prescribing board was told in June 2005 there were 'concerns in relation to education preparation' and CPD for nurse prescribers.In April this year, Pulse reported a survey of more than 200 non-medical prescribers finding 24% thought they did not have enough access to CPD.The documents also reveal concerns over funding for non-medical prescribers. In December 2005, 'funding for non-medical prescribing was identified as a genuine risk', but the Department of Health has blanked out further details claiming they might breach confidence.Non-medical prescribing leads at SHAs were also a concern, the board warned, with the possibility many authorities would not appoint them. In February this year, the chief nursing officer was tasked with raising the importance of non-medical prescribing continuity with 'certain SHAs'.But the department insisted it had taken steps to ensure CPD was adequate: 'We published strong guidance on nurse and pharmacist independent prescribing in April 2006. This includes sections on continuing professional development.'CPD and training for nurses are an SHA/PCT responsibility. Every nurse and pharmacist prescriber has a designated medical practitioner, a doctor, to help guide them during training.'But GPs are signalling their annoyance at being left to supervise non-medical prescribers without funding.A motion to this year's LMCs conference demands the GPC negotiate a defined role and an agreed fee for mentoring non-medical prescribers.Dr Peter Jolliffe, chief executive of Devon LMC – one of the motion's proposers – said: 'There is no agreed fee at the moment, doctors are just doing it as usual because we are nice people. But the more we are kicked by the Government for being nice people the less likely we are to keep on doing it.'

GPs left with nurse scripts burden

The warning'Funding for non-medical prescribing was identified as a genuine risk' The Government line'Both CPD and training for nurses are an SHA/PCT responsibility'The LMC motion'Conference instructs the GPC to negotiate a defined role and an agreed fee for GP mentoring of non-medical prescribers'

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