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Delegation and accountability

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Delegation and accountability

General practice is changing and practice nursing teams are evolving to meet the increasing demands and pressures currently facing primary care. As a result, many general practice nurses (GPNs) are taking on more advanced roles, and more routine tasks are often delegated to healthcare assistants. It is therefore critical that GPNs are aware of the principles of delegation and accountability in order to maintain safe and effective practice.

It is a requirement of the NMC Code that all registered nurses must be accountable for their decisions to delegate tasks and duties to other people.1

This resource, consisting of five assessment questions at intermediate level, tests your understanding of this requirement. Complete the resource, including the recommended reading and some or all of the suggested activities, to obtain a certificate for one hour of continuing professional development to include in your annual appraisal/revalidation portfolio.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain the principles of delegation and accountability in the field of nursing
  • Describe the process of safe delegation
  • Clarify the shared responsibility in a delegated task
  • Illustrate the operation of the Duty of Candour in daily practice
  • Identify that appropriate indemnity is in place for your work


1. Nursing and Midwifery Council. The Code. 2015. London, NMC.

Practice Nurse featured articles

Principles of delegation and accountability Kate Taylor, Clinical Risk and Education Manager, Medical Protection Society

Delegation in practice Eileen Bryant, Assistant Head of Quality/Regional Lead Out of Hospital Care, NHS England (London Region)

Reading List

Royal College of Nursing. Accountability and delegation: what you need to know, 2011.

Royal College of Nursing . . Accountability and delegation: a guide for the nursing team, 2015.

Further training on this topic

Leadership Module – Education For Health

Essentials of Primary Care Nursing Workshops – Education For Health