NHS Forth Valley to recruit more than 200 healthcare professionals by 2021

More staff, including advanced nursing practitioners, are to be recruited by NHS Forth Valley. Picture: John Young/YoungMedia 2011
More staff, including advanced nursing practitioners, are to be recruited by NHS Forth Valley. Picture: John Young/YoungMedia 2011

More than 200 additional healthcare professionals will be recruited across NHS Forth Valley to support GP practices over the next three years.

Extra pharmacists, advanced nurse practitioners, mental health workers and physiotherapists will be brought in to serve the region as part of multi-professional teams as a response to changes set out in a new national GP contract.

The measures are part of NHS Forth Valley’s new Primary Care Improvement Plan, drawn up to deal with increased demands within primary care services and address challenges in recruiting GPs.

In effect, it means more patients will be seen by the healthcare professionals who have the right skills to deliver the care needed.

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The plan will also enable other healthcare professionals to take over some of the work that is currently carried out by GPs, allowing doctors to spend more time seeing patients with more serious or complex health needs.

Priorities include the development of services that will see pharmacists working directly with GP practices to manage medicines and prescriptions.

Nurse-led treatment room services will be expanded and additional staff will be recruited to support the delivery of more urgent care in the community and provide additional support to care home residents.

One of the first changes will see immunisation work currently carried out by GPs and their staff being provided by specialist teams. This will initially focus on travel vaccines followed by childhood immunisation and then flu vaccines.

Other developments include plans to introduce additional mental health nurses to provide support for patients with mild to moderate mental health problems.

This service is already available in a number of practices across Clackmannanshire and Falkirk West and will be rolled out across Forth Valley in the near future.

Dr Stuart Cumming, NHS Forth Valley’s associated medical director, said: “A lot of work has gone into developing these plans as we need to increase capacity to respond to the ever-increasing demand for healthcare in our communities.

“It’s important to acknowledge the hugely valuable work that our GPs do but also to recognise that many health issues can be managed using the skills of other professionals working alongside our existing practice teams.

“Developing larger and more diverse teams, we help provide the best possible care for local patients and I’m pleased that the initial response to our recruitment drive has been very encouraging.”