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08 May 2017
A partnership scheme between, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Bedfordshire University and London Road Surgery in Bedford to support student nurses into General practice has seen its first work placement student. The training, skills and development programme for nursing staff was developed to tackle the national shortage of qualified nurses in General Practice - the scheme has been running since October last year.
Cassandra Pinner, a student from the University of Bedfordshire is in her final year of a three-year degree course. Cassandra’s final year will be spent in London Road surgery under the guidance of a mentorship. Cassandra said, “General Practice is an exciting place to be. I believe it is the best career pathway as I like the relationship I get to build with patients I see on a regular basis. It has a lot of scope and allows me to specialise in particular areas like diabetes”.
The Bedfordshire scheme will see better training and support for student nurses, practicing nurses as well as opportunities for healthcare assistants to up-skill and train to be nurses. The initiative enables students to work in General Practice with guidance from a designated mentor - a trained practice nurse. For the first time in Bedfordshire, practice nurses’ will be able to sign off students at the end of their courses to become registered nurses.
Spearheading the project, Nurse Tutor Carol Clapham said, “Cassandra has a great opportunity to develop in an area where the demand for Nurses (in General Practice) is high. Practice nurses and healthcare assistants are a vital part of the clinical team at a local surgery and are often the first port of call for patients.
“Currently, there are 23,000 nurse vacancies in the UK approx. 1 in 10 posts not filled. Nationally 29% of nurses are over the age of 50. If not tackled now, there could be a nursing crisis in General Practice in the next 10 years”.
Carol who recently came runners-up in the category of General Practice Nurse Mentor, at the General Practice Nursing Regional Conference Awards continued, “This scheme supports nurses into General Practice. Nurses get a good grounding in primary care. It also allows practice nurses to become mentors, which has seen a considerable increase since launch”.
The initiative hopes to bring more student nurses into General Practice and is urging all GPs in Bedfordshire to support the scheme.
Bedfordshire CCG’s project for more practice nurses goes hand-in-hand with its drive to boost numbers of GPs in Bedfordshire which also focuses on offering enhanced training opportunities and professional support.
· Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for planning, organising and buying NHS-funded healthcare for the 441,000 people who live in Bedfordshire. This includes hospital, community health and mental health services.
· BCCG is run by GPs, nurses, hospital doctors and other clinicians – the people you see whenever you come into contact with the NHS. All 55 GP practices in Bedfordshire are members of the CCG which is divided into five areas, which we call localities. These are: Bedford, Chiltern Vale, Leighton Buzzard, Ivel Valley and West Mid Bedfordshire and all of the 55 GP practices in Bedfordshire are members.