GP Assistants (GPA)- what can they do for the practice and the GPs (and other clinicians) once trained?
- Phlebotomy and ECGs (for example when needed acutely during a consultation with a GP)
- Insurance/DWP form completion– GPAs with training can complete the majority of the form, with a GP then just needing to check. Think of the time saved!
- Observations and take a basic history. If the GPA is working with the on call GP they could support by bringing down patients needing F2F review, taking observations and a basic history, before handing over to the GP/clinician, thus saving time
- Care plan reviews eg dementia reviews and learning disability annual health checks. The GPA could complete much of the care plan with the individual and then handover any medical issues needing further discussion
- Referral support eg support with use of cinapsis for acute referrals, to save the clinician time and handover when the call is answered. Support with completion of referral forms including 2ww referrals
- Support with QI work and QOF– searches, cancer QI admin work and more
- Use of a dermatoscope to take pictures for uploading to the record and onward review by a GP/clinician
- Filing of appropriate results eg normal FOBT, or supporting uptake of screening (again which could link into QOF/IIF work)
- Support for the GP/clinician on home visits or care home ward rounds
- Workflow processing
- The possibilities can be endless!
Why a GP Assistant?
- This could be a great career development pathway for an existing practice member, providing variety to the working week to support staff retention
- For a receptionist spending time with the GP, and the GP spending time with them, this could be a fantastic source of learning for what the other does, and look for ways to streamline processes
- Dedicated support for the GPs to support recruitment and retention and aim to get them home a bit sooner!
- Possibilities to use this as a stepping stone into other roles, such as a trainee nursing associate role or care co-ordinator role
Update 27/9/22– following the announcement from NHSE to add GP assistants to the list of additional reimbursement roles (ARRs) we are awaiting an update from WT&E on further training cohorts. Please note the guidance from NHSE advises:
‘Introduce a general practice assistant (GPA) role in the ARRS. The role will offer clinical and administrative support to GPs, freeing up clinical time to focus on patient care. The role will be subject to a maximum reimbursement equivalent of an Agenda for Change Band 4 level and the outline will be based on the WT&E
PCNs can immediately start recruiting for the role, predominantly through trainee positions. Staff can be trained in practice, with on-the-job training and development led by GPs, in line with the role outline. Trainee GPAs will also have the opportunity to complete WT&E’s structured, accredited training route, aligned to the competency framework, equipping them with formal certification of their learning.’
There are two options for training, either an accredited route or on-the-job training following the WT&E competency framework.
- The formal (accredited) training requires the individual to be released for 4hrs per week for personal study time and 4hrs per week for 1:1 training. The 1:1 training could be on courses, observing all clinical and non-clinical members of the team, and being observed completing patient interactions. The remainder of the working week can be flexible to suit the needs of the practice and individual. So the 4hrs of 1:1 training does not need to all be with a GP!
- The GPA needs to complete an e-portfolio covering the training domains, supported by a named GP mentor (they can also have a practice manager mentor who could support the non-clinical elements instead of the GP)
- On completion of training a £1700 training grant (correct at the time of writing in 2022) is payable by WT&E to the employing practice
- If your PCN or GP practice wishes to register their interest in accreditation, please complete a short Microsoft Forms questionnaire. Individuals can express their interest here.
- Staff can be trained in practice, with on-the-job training and development led by GPs, in line with the role outline
- The WT&E competency framework can be found by clicking the button below
It’s important to note that there are 50 places across the Southwest Region and the deadline for applications is midnight on Thursday 30th of November 2023.
Further information can be found at e-learning for health General Practice Assistant – elearning for healthcare (e-lfh.org.uk).
Please click here to access an example job description.