An exclusive roundtable event hosted by Nursing in Practice has explored the role of general practice nurses (GPNs) in addressing health inequalities, managing long-term conditions and promoting public health – as well as the barriers they are up against.

GPN Manifesto

This marks the second in a series of roundtable reports linked to our GPN Manifesto for 2024 – made up of 10 points of priorities, created by Nursing in Practice in collaboration with 10 nurses.

Today’s report dives into the action needed to better support GPNs in tackling health inequalities and in prioritising long-term conditions and public health promotion.

GPNs told us about their serious concerns around a move to use less qualified and ‘cheaper’ staff in place of GPNs, as well as a lack of training and career development opportunities.

They also discussed the importance of considering the needs of patients from different areas and backgrounds, and the initiatives helping to improve engagement with health services and health promotion.

It was widely agreed that GPNs need to be given ‘the tools in their box’ to support patients who often have ‘a whole suitcase of conditions’.

Jenny Aston, an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP), argued GPNs often did not have ‘the time or space’ to ‘think, reflect and work out’ how they can meet the individual needs of patients from different backgrounds, wherever they are in the UK.

Rebecca Corneck, a director of general practice nursing for the Southeast London Workforce Development Hub and a Queen’s Nurse said she felt the GPN workforce was ‘beginning to open our eyes’ to health inequalities, but stressed ‘we need to do it more’.

Meanwhile, Hina Shah, a GPN and lead nurse in immunisations in Leicester, questioned the skill mix of the workforce and ‘whether they are using their skills correctly or not’.

‘If a certain thing is not within their limits, then a highly trained person should look after that area. For example, our diabetic nurse looks after complex patients only,’ she added.

Last month Nursing in Practice launched our first GPN Manifesto report which focused on recruitment, retention and pay.

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