Patients prefer to get medical advice from nurses rather than doctors, according to a study published today.
Researchers at Brunel University, Cardiff and Bristol, found that nurses spent far longer on appointments and patients experienced greater satisfaction.
Nurses were more likely to view a problem holistically, giving advice on a whole range of medical and lifestyle factors, the study found.
Patients also found it easier to speak to nurses rather than doctors and talked more during appointments.
Professor Clive Seale, who led the study, examined the treatment advice given by both GPs and nurses to "same day" patients with urgent problems. He found that nurses talked significantly more about treatments and suggested a range of them, including cheaper medicines.
Prof Seale claimed the findings did not mean nurses offered better care, but that patients preferred them to doctors.
He added: "Economic and health outcome evaluations suggest no significant differences between nurse practitioners and GPs, in that extra things done by the nurses may not necessarily contribute to clinical effectiveness."