The NHS Five Year Forward View (NHS England, 2014) is a key directive that sets forth an ambitious vision for the future of NHS health care delivery which will increasingly see care moving from the secondary care setting into community and primary care settings (NHS England, 2014). General Practice (GP) is a core focal point of these plans. However NHS England (2014) reports that current recruitment to NHS posts is not fully responsive to current changing care delivery demands. There is a reported 16% increase in primary care clinicians workload from 2007 – 2014 (Hobbs et al, 2016), but only a 0.6% rise in the numbers of community based nurses in the past 10 years (NHS England, 2014). This coupled with the recent Queens Nursing Institute General Practice Nursing survey (n=3405), reporting that a staggering 33% of the GPN workforce is due to retire by 2020 (QNI, 2016), it is abundantly clear that immediate and purposeful action towards workforce development needs be taken.
However a range of constraining barriers including a lack of funding and concerns over indemnity insurance, have for many years rendered general practice an inaccessible learning environment and thus a rarely considered career choice for newly qualified nurses. In response to such workforce development needs, Health Education England West Midlands established Community Education Provider Networks as community based training hubs (NHS England, 2014). Each CEPN has a core focus on increasing student nurse placements within GP and community settings, with the ultimate aim of attracting more newly qualified nurses into the role of GP nursing.
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