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GPNs to be added to general practice recruitment scheme

General practice nurses (GPNs) are set to be added to the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS), the government has announced.

The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that GPNs and mental health practitioners will be the latest roles to join the scheme, as part of next year’s GP contract.

However, no further details have been given about the change at this stage, as talks on the contract continue.

It comes as members of the profession had been calling for GPNs to be added to the ARRS, in order to support the recruitment of nurses into primary care.

A recent petition, started by a GP in December, called on the government to include GPNs and GPs in the ARRS. The petition has now passed 10,000 signatures.

The ARRS currently funds the salaries of 17 roles to expand the primary care workforce, including advanced nurse practitioners, nursing associates, physician associates, dieticians, podiatrists, paramedics and occupational therapists.

However, a report from the Queen’s Nursing Institute revealed last week that GPNs were being expected to train and supervise their ARRS colleagues, despite being on lower pay in some cases.

The research also found that ARRS had also increased workload for GPNs, citing issues around having to train colleagues without any additional time or resources.

See also  'Enhanced level' nurses latest to be added to ARRS

Report author and leading nursing workforce academic, Professor Alison Leary, had warned that the introduction of ARRS had been “problematic” for the GPN workforce.

The news from the government about GPNs joining the ARRS comes as part of a wider announcement on changes to the GP contract for 2024-25.

Other changes include lowering the number of quality and outcomes framework targets to reduce bureaucracy and simplifying clinical director roles to create greater autonomy in local practices.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “GPs are at the heart of our communities and we hugely value their vital work.

“This contract will reduce unnecessary and burdensome bureaucracy so they can spend more valuable time with their patients, while also giving them greater autonomy to run local practices.”

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