Intended for healthcare professionals

General Practice

Establishing a minor illness nurse in a busy general practice

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 25 March 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:778
  1. G N Marsh, general practitionera,
  2. M L Dawes, practice nursea
  1. a Norton Medical Centre, Norton, Stockton on Tees, Cleveland TS20 1AN
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Marsh.
  • Accepted 31 January 1995


Objective: To study the feasibility of a practice nurse caring for patients with minor illnesses.

Design: Nurse given training in dealing with patients with minor illnesses. Patients requesting a same day appointment were offered a nurse consultation.

Setting: Group practice in Stockton on Tees.

Main outcome measures: Number of consultations which required a doctor contact, treatment, and rate of reconsultation.

Results: Of 696 consultations in six months, 602 (86%) required no doctor contact. 549 (79%) patients did not reconsult about that episode of illness, and 343 (50%) patients were given advice on self care only.

Conclusion: Trained nurses could diagnose and treat a large proportion of patients currently consulting general practitioners about minor illness provided that the nurse has immediate access to a doctor.

Key messages

  • Key messages

  • A nurse was trained to deal with such patients by sitting in on the duty doctor's surgery

  • The nurse managed 86% of patients without contact with the doctor; half required a prescrip- tion signing

  • Half of patients required only advice on self care, and 79% did not reconsult

  • Practice nurses could successfully manage many patients requesting same day appoint- ments with their general practitioner


    • Accepted 31 January 1995
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