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Advanced clinical practice definition

Health Education England (HEE), in association with its multi-disciplinary partners, has developed a definition of Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP).

Defining Advanced Clinical Practice

Advanced Clinical Practice is delivered by experienced registered healthcare practitioners.  It is a level of practice characterised by a high level of autonomy and complex decision-making.  This is underpinned by a masters level award or equivalent that encompasses the four pillars of clinical practice, management and leadership, education and research, with demonstration of core and area specific clinical competence.

Advanced Clinical Practice embodies the ability to manage complete clinical care in partnership with patients/carers.  It includes the analysis and synthesis of complex problems across a range of settings, enabling innovative solutions to enhance patient experience and improve outcomes.


I am delighted that HEE, working with its partners in NHS England, NHS Improvement, the professional bodies, academics, and our Patient Representatives has been able to develop a definition of Multi-professional Advanced Clinical Practice.  The definition is the culmination of considerable work led by our ACP Steering and Operations groups and I would personally like to thank all those involved in the many stimulating debates that took place to help shape our thinking. 

Our definition is the foundation for the Multi-professional framework for Advanced Clinical Practice in England and will help employers identify, plan and transform a workforce that makes an invaluable contribution to the delivery of outstanding care.  It is as applicable to all healthcare practitioners working across the full range of settings where care is delivered.  In addition, it attempts to address the confusion that arises from the many titles and definitions in common use across the English health and care system.

John Clark, Director and Dean of Education and Quality – South, HEE


The national multi-professional definition of Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) has been developed in collaboration with ACPs, healthcare managers, employers, educationalists, ACP leads in HEE’s local offices, higher education institutions’ deans, the NHS Clinical Commissioners Network, NHS England, NHS Improvement, patients and the public, plus royal colleges and professional bodies. It was also discussed and debated at the ACP national conference run by HEE in November 2016. 

The ACP definition has been developed to provide clarity for employers, service leads, education providers and healthcare professionals, as well as potential ACPs practising at an advanced level. This is the first time a common multi-professional definition has been developed which can be applied across professional boundaries and clinical settings. The definition serves to support a consistent title and recognises the increasing use of such roles in England.

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