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GP assistant

We commissioned a pilot across the North West in conjunction with The Spinney Enhanced Training Practice for 90 candidates across general practice to be trained in to the role of GP Assistant and have the opportunity to be the first to achieve the GP Assistant Certificate.

In the north west, our general practice workforce reports indicate a higher percentage than the national average of admin and clerical staff, presenting the opportunity for new role development with existing staff into the hybrid medical assistant role.

The hybrid medical assistant role was initially developed in the United States, where the focus is to deliver clinical and non-clinical duties supporting General Practitioners in their day-to-day management of patients, and specifically aimed at reducing administrative burden.

GP Assistants, also known as Medical Assistants, support doctors in the smooth running of their surgery by handling the routine administration and some basic clinical duties enabling the GP to focus on the patient.

GP Assistants are trained to help with:

  • Sorting all clinical post and prioritising
  • Extracting all information from clinical letters that needs coding
  • Dealing with all routine clinical post directly e.g. DNA letters, 2WW etc.
  • Arranging appointments, referrals and follow up appointments of patients
  • Preparing patients prior to going in to see the GP, taking a brief history and basic readings in readiness for the GP appointment.
  • Dipping urine, taking blood pressure, ECGs & phlebotomy
  • Completing basic (non-opinion) forms for the GP to approve and sign such as insurance forms, mortgage forms e.g. ESA113 etc
  • Explaining treatment procedures to patients including arranging follow up appointments
  • Helping the GP liaise with outside agencies i.e. getting an on call doctor on the phone to ask advice or arrange admission while the GP can continue with their consultation(s)
  • Support the GP with immunisations/wound care

GP Assistant Certificate

The course requires one day a week, within the practice, and includes both web-based training and practical sessions with a GP mentor. Some time may also be spent with a practice nurse to provide training in simple clinical duties such as blood pressure monitoring.

You will need to be supported by a GP who will act as your mentor. If you meet the entry criteria your GP mentor can put you forward for the GP Assistant Certificate by contacting Spinney.ETPadmin@nhs.net.

The GP Assistant course takes 6 months to complete and 90 places have been allocated in this proof of concept. The course will be evaluated to determine future cohorts.

The workbook syllabus has been created by Sysco Training in conjunction with GP, practice nurse and practice manager input. The level 4 certificate has been accredited by University of Chester. The aim of the certificate is to support this innovate piece of work and encourage a standardised approach.