Advanced clinical practice: is it worth the bureaucracy?
The recently published NHS People Plan (NHS England et al, 2020) made reference to continuing professional development (CPD) and in, particular, advanced clinical practice. Work to provide guidance, professional standards, tools and resources to support advanced practice is being produced by various networks (eg Association of Advanced Practice Educators, Advanced Critical/Clinical Care Practitioners Academic Network, Royal College of Emergency Medicine) at a rapid pace. The doors have opened for universities to apply for accreditation of their advanced clinical practice programmes through Health Education England (HEE)'s ‘Centre for Advancing Practice’ (HEE, 2020). In addition, there has been a resurgence of activity as people return from redeployment during the COVID-19 crisis into a new way of working that includes both ‘business as usual’ and dealing with the continuing impact of the pandemic.
As one of its key messages, the NHS People Plan notes that the decrease in bureaucracy in this time has helped people to feel empowered to do what is needed. Is this reflective of the advanced clinical practice experience? Have bureaucratic blockages been removed to allow advanced clinical practice to be implemented effectively? Is the effort needed to push forward this agenda worth it?
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