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Practices to be given £8,000 bursaries to train new nurses

Practices will be given up to £8,000 to support training and development for a newly qualified GP practice nurse, in a bid to increase the numbers of nurses working in primary care.

The initiative, run by Health Education England in Yorkshire and the Humber, will see 50 practices being given funding to train nurses in core general practice skills such as managing long-term conditions, sexual health interventions and managing patients across a lifetime.

GP leaders welcomed the move to address nursing vacancies but said investment needed to be sustained instead of one-off initiatives.

Under the new scheme, practices will be required to ‘provide that new nurse a good quality learning environment’, work with them to ‘identify and access [appropriate] training courses and/or university modules’ and afford them time for study.

HEE told Pulse that the ‘initial plan’ is for the scheme to run in Yorkshire and Humber only, but after 2016 education bosses will consider whether the additional practices should be invited to apply for funding.

It said it will ’provide each practice… [with] a total of £8,000 for each new nurse, to be used to support their learning and development over the first two years of employment with the practice.’

It is aimed at nurses who registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council after 1 August 2016 and will provide the new nurse with ‘formal academic and experiential supervision’ for their first two years.

This will include an NMC-approved mentorship programme in year two, with much of the training and support to be coordinated with new ’training hubs’ that were set up as part of the ten-point plan for GP workforce.

The Yorkshire and Humber deanery became the first to introduce an ‘advance practice training’ (APT) scheme for nurses, which offers placements in general practice.

Health Education England, who are funding the programme, said the APT scheme has been ‘massively successful’ in making GP placements available, but added that on its own it ‘has not promoted a change in the nursing workforce profile to the extent required for the future.’

It said the new £8,000 bursaries will be judged a success if ’workforce data tells us that after only one year, the number of new nursing registrants working in Yorkshire and the Humber’s primary care environments has increased’.

This in line with Jeremy Hunt’s new deal pledge to recruit 5,000 other health professionals to support GPs by 2020.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, chair of the GPC’s education, training and workforce subcommittee told Pulse: ‘It is positive that we have some new proposals on nursing vacancies, but there will need to be sustained investment in this recruitment drive.

‘In addition, the Government needs to deliver on its promises to address the chronic shortage of GPs: this is the fundamental problem facing the workforce in general practice.’

A HEE spokesperson said: ‘This work is still in its early stages, however the initial plan is for the scheme to run in the Yorkshire and Humber region only. The scheme is to be officially launched soon, and at that time GP practices will be invited to apply.’

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