The Irish General Practice Nurses Education Association (IGPNEA) is set to host its annual conference this Friday 13th and Saturday 14th of May in the Tower Hotel, Waterford. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Forward Together’, as the country looks to progress following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The theme of this year’s conference – the first face-to-face edition in three years – is ‘Forward Together’, as the country looks to progress following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over 200 healthcare professionals from across the country will gather to listen to relevant, interesting and informative contributions from speakers across a range of topics aligned to the educational criteria of the Association. The conference also provides an opportunity to network with industry peers, and share ideas and innovations which have seen us through the past two unprecedented years.
General Practice Nurses (GPNs) have and will continue to play a pivotal role in the provision of healthcare nationwide in the coming years. GPNs delivered in excess of 7.5 million patient consultations in 2019 and this figure is expected to rise to over 9 million per year by 2031.
The area of general practice nursing has been identified by other members of the medical profession as a sector in which further investment is needed if current services are to continue to be delivered adequately, and if any future Sláintecare model is to be introduced.
Writing in the Irish Medical Times earlier this year, Dr Brendan O’Shea said, “GPNs can intervene in prevention, earlier optimisation of care, and also in advanced disease, particularly the epidemiologically common conditions. Few patients present to consultation with single issues, but frequently 4-6 very differing problems; GPNs can address this broad spectrum of care.”
“But in today’s rapidly evolving healthcare in Ireland, the potential of GPNs to take on more is severely limited, and unnecessarily so, by their terms and conditions. For many, building capacity in GP Nursing is absolutely essential if Sláintecare is ever to be delivered”
Against the backdrop of an ageing population with changing health needs, models of care are moving away from reactive hospital-based services. The focus is shifting towards proactive health improvement and disease prevention for the general population delivered in the community and primary care setting, in which GPNs will be critically important.
Mary Jordan, National Chairperson of the IGPNEA, said in advance of the conference, “a General Practice Nurse is a valuable resource to every GP surgery and the skills and professionalism must be adequately recognised and rewarded.”
“A fully funded and facilitated educational framework, together with a defined career pathway, is no longer a mere aspiration for us. It is a necessity if the Government is to attract, recruit and retain appropriately skilled nurses to enable the delivery of the goals of Sláintecare in General Practice.”
“Our ultimate aim is to have the specialism of General Practice Nursing receive an annotation on our professional register.”