I write regarding a serious and radical change in the nature of General Practice which will affect all of us and is being introduced by stealth.
The other day I was taken unwell and, to my surprise, on ringing my doctor’s surgery was directed to see a ‘triage nurse’. This was new to me but apparently this is a nurse who has had special training in addition to normal nurse training and is known as a nurse practitioner.
As a retired doctor I may be considered an ‘expert patient’ and I found the consultation unsatisfactory.
Like many Horsham residents I am elderly, even old, and have several chronic medical conditions for which I take numerous pills. Considerable clinical experience and judgement is necessary in this situation to select the appropriate treatment and this cannot be got from a computer. The upshot was that that I had to see my GP some days later to get more radical treatment.
On the internet there is an advertisement for 486 vacancies for nurse practitioners in West Sussex so we are in for significant changes in the delivery of healthcare. I seem to have missed the essential publicity and discussions which should precede such changes.
Nurse practitioners are trained and regulated by the General Nursing Council whilst GPs are reponsible to the General Medical Council so it seems that we are going to have a two-tier service.
This change in standards is all the more remarkable as it coincides with the introduction of revalidation of doctors.
Name and address supplied
Editor’s note: in a rare break with normal practice the County Times has anonymised this letter at the request of this writer to protect the confidentiality of their medical records