Nurses in the UK will be trained to perform surgical procedures under a radical drive by the National Health Service (NHS) to slash waiting times, says a Daily Mail report. They will be urged to take a two-year course to become “surgical care practitioners” and help ease the workload of under-pressure surgeons.
Professor Michael Griffin, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said: “We are totally supportive of this. We have very little anxiety about this.” But critics say the plan is a “sticking plaster solution” to a “very serious staffing crisis”, and it will only intensify existing nursing shortages.
The report says under the proposal, the qualified nurses will be responsible for procedures including the repair of hernias and removal of benign cysts and some skin cancers. They will also undertake key tasks during major surgery including heart bypasses and hip and knee replacements.
Surgical care practitioners will have done five years’ training – a three-year degree as a nurse or another healthcare professional, followed by a two-year masters course. Surgeons have up to 16 years’ training including six years at medical school and ten years learning specialist surgical skills.
NHS waiting times are at their worst in 13 years, with 4.4m patients languishing on lists, some of whom have been there more than a year.
Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said in the report: “Anything that helps older people to get the surgery they need more speedily has to be worth trying, providing the arrangements are proven to be safe and have the appropriate clinical oversight.”Full Daily Mail report