First contact care

Practice nurses could be one of the first groups of healthcare professionals to develop their skills and knowledge under the proposed new NHS University (NHSU).

Starting in the summer, 10 primary care trusts will pilot the First Contact Care Education Programme.

Developed by NHSU and the Department of Health, the initiative is designed to support those already delivering first contact care - seeing, treating and referring patients with undiagnosed conditions - and for others who want to develop skills to do this.

The programme is accredited by Sheffield Hallam University and based on five modules. Students graduate with either a postgraduate diploma and/or an MSc in first contact care.

Vince Ion, NHSU project manager for first contact care, said: ‘Improving first contact care is a key element to modernising the NHS. We want to provide a better service for patients in a friendly environment and we feel that nurses and other health professionals are the best placed people to do this because they are the frontline.’

The programme will offer flexible learning in the workplace, which will include:

Developing awareness of their role in first contact care, use and management of knowledge, consultation skills, practice management, demonstrating competence in first contact care and a project management study including research methods.

More information at NHS University or email

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