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Economic assessment of a practice nurse training programme

Vicky Souster, Education and Development Manager, Tower Hamlets CCG

Vicky's case study was completed in June 2016 and reflects 2016 prices

In 2007, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets had a shortage of well-trained Practice Nurses (PNs). Severe problems with patient access to GPs showed Tower Hamlets performed poorly compared to other English Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).

At the same time, an increasing number of people were moving into the Borough, which drove a rise in the incidence of chronic disease, especially heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes.

In response, Tower Hamlets PCT commissioned research into effective recruitment and training programmes which would attract new PNs into the Borough. Training for PNs had previously been haphazard and the idea of a formal two-year degree programme was welcomed.

To make the transition from hospital to practice nursing in primary care safe and attractive, a new team was established. The role of Clinical Mentor was created to provide training on site and facilitate an Action Learning Group.

Vicky Souster was the Tower Hamlets PCT manager. Vicky recently completed an economic assessment which demonstrates that the programme enabled staff to be recruited and retained effectively in Tower Hamlets, with low attrition rates: 38% of staff trained over the last 7 years are still working in the Borough.

Of 40 nurses who completed PN training only 2 returned to hospital posts. High quality PNs release appointments for GPs, which improves access figures and reduces pressure on the system. The training prepares future clinical leaders.

Using her findings, Vicky has recommend that investment in this PN training model continues within Tower Hamlets and is rolled out nationally.

You can contact Vicky by email:

Case study
One page summary