The role of Government policy in supporting nurse-led care in general practice in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia: An adapted realist review

Karen J. Hoare, Jane Mills, Karen Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Aim. This article is a report on a review that examined the role of Government policy in primary care and its association with nurse-led care in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia between 1998 and 2009. Background. The United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia share a similar model of first point access to the healthcare system via general practitioners. General practice is synonymous with the term primary care. Datasources. Medline, CINAHL, EMBASE, Scopus, PsychInfo, Google, Department of Health, England (United Kingdom), Ministry of Health, New Zealand, Department of Health and Ageing, Australia. Searches of electronic databases from 1998 to December 2009 and hand searches of identified leads and key journals. Historical papers accessed to describe the genesis of practice nursing and historical Government policy documents prior to 1998, were examined. Review methods. A modified realist review was used to synthesize research and policy documents relating to government policies pertaining to nurse-led care. In addition, a systematic review was used to identify literature that described practice nurse-led care. Results. Nurse-led primary care services are well described in the United Kingdom with a total of 45 studies meeting the inclusion criteria for the second review. There are no published studies from New Zealand, and only two from Australia describing nurse-led primary care. Conclusion. New Zealand and Australia lag behind the United Kingdom in practice nurse development. Implementation of clinical governance was fundamental to the development of nurse-led care in the UK.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-980
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


  • Australia
  • Clinical governance
  • General practice
  • New Zealand
  • Nurse-led care
  • Practice nurse
  • United Kingdom

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