[Image: Science Photo Library.]

[Image: Science Photo Library.]

If you think this is a good idea, here are two words to make you think again: Mission drift.

Nurses are not equivalent to doctors. If they were, they would be called doctors.

Nurses are therefore not as well-trained as doctors. Who would take the blame if they were asked to handle a situation for which they weren’t qualified, and it went wrong?

Nurses are not as well-paid as doctors. This means the NHS could end up using them as a way of saving money, when it should be focusing on patients’ care needs.

The same goes for paramedics and pharmacists. This seems a cynical attempt to bypass striking doctors by providing a lower standard of care and passing it off as reasonable. It isn’t.

It is the thin end of a very nasty wedge. As Peter Stefanovic pointed out on Twitter: “Mr Hunt would have hospital porters performing brain surgery if he could!”

This is what happens when the accountants running the NHS start to outnumber people with real medical experience.

For the NHS, the answer is simple: Let nurses be nurses. Let paramedics and pharmacists do their jobs.

Above all, let doctors be doctors, within a framework of the right pay and conditions of work.

Nurses, paramedics and pharmacists should be trained to fill in for doctors and help the NHS in England cope with demand, bosses say.

Management body NHS Employers has given the plan the green light after advisers said there were a range of extra tasks they could do with more training.

A Nuffield Trust review found examples of nurses filling in for hospital doctors and pharmacists for GPs.

But unions warned against using it as a quick fix for problems in the NHS.

Source: ‘Train NHS staff’ to plug doctor gaps, bosses say – BBC News

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