YP Letters: Patients should accept no substitute for a fully-trained doctor

From: Duncan Long, Coxley Crescent, Netherton.

Are GP surgeries, and the NHS, becoming over reliant on nurse practitioners?

THE loss of patient satisfaction at obtaining a GP appointment is worrying, not just because it is falling but because of what is being done to address it.

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Most patients have never heard of an ‘ANP’ which stands for Advanced Nurse Practitioner. In an attempt to prop up the lack of qualified and experienced doctors, nurses are being given enhanced roles, titles and salaries which allow them to prescribe and diagnose without necessarily having the qualifications, training, skill or experience to do so safely.

Worryingly they are also being deployed in hospital units too. This might, at first sight, seem sensible given their lack of experience, but it is experience that is required to pick up on early signs of the most serious conditions that require diagnosing early to survive.

Satisfaction at getting an appointment is being traded against the rise of avoidable deaths. The next time you actually do get an appointment make sure you check it’s actually a doctor you have seen, not simply an Advanced Nurse Practitioner or a Lead Advanced Nurse Practitioner, the majority of whom have no qualifications other than that of nurse. Next time you do get an appointment; ask the question – is it actually a doctor you are seeing?