Nurse role in GP consults continues to rise

THE number of GP-patient consultations involving the use of a practice nurse has increased dramatically over the past year, a new report shows.

The latest General Practice Activity in Australia 2009-2010 (BEACH) report, based on almost 100,000 consultations carried out by about 1000 GPs, revealed the number of encounters rose by nearly 50% from 6183 in 2008–09 to 9154 in 2009–10.

When extrapolated to all GPs, these figures indicate practice nurses are involved in about 10.5 million GP-patient encounters, about 6.2 million more than in 2005–06.

The number of encounters at which practice nurse item numbers were used also jumped by more than 70%, from 2416 to 4161.

APNA chief executive Belinda Caldwell said the data reflected that the practice nurse workforce is clearly growing.

“We’ve still got more [practice nurses] coming into the workforce and the ones that are in there are being used