Nurses as gatekeepers to NHS

The BMA has proposed that doctors should abandon their role as the sole
‘gatekeepers’ to the NHS in a ground-breaking model of how doctors and nurses
might work together in the future.

In a discussion document it proposes that care should initially be focused
around nurses’ skills, who would co-ordinate the care around a patient, with
doctors concentrating on areas where their skills could best be used.

This would mean, in primary care, nurse practitioners being the first port
of call for patients, providing information and guidance to relevant services.

In secondary care, clinical nurse specialists would be responsible for
co-ordinating care given by other professionals, including doctors.

Dr Ian Bogle, BMA chairman, said: "Those who work within the NHS need
to take a long, hard look at how they work and how they might improve the
service and care they offer. Patients could be seen sooner by those with real

A poll of 1,972 people conducted by the BMA to coincide with the document
found 87 per cent said they would be happy to be seen by a nurse rather than a
doctor if their condition was not serious.

And 84 per cent said they would be happy to see a pharmacist for a repeat prescription,
while 53 per cent thought that if they wanted to be sure of receiving the best
treatment they needed to see a hospital consultant and not someone less senior.

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