General Practice Assistants (GPAs)

What is a General Practice Assistant? What do they do?

The GPA role was introduced in 2018 to safely deliver a combination of routine administrative tasks and some basic clinical duties in the general practice setting. Their focus is on supporting General Practitioners in their day-to-day management of patients, specifically aimed at reducing the administrative burden, making best use of consultations and supporting those particularly vulnerable to isolation who are regular attenders at the practice.


Key Information

Scope of Practice

A General Practice Assistant will support GPs in the smooth running of the surgery by handling routine administrative tasks and some basic clinical duties, helping to free up the GP’s time.  They work with the direction of the GP, who has overall responsibility for medical care.  Depending on the practice’s needs, a GP Assistant can be 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, ECG’s and 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 advise or arrange admission while the GP can continue with their consultations
  • Support the clinical team with immunisations/wound care.

Training Requirements

Candidates should be considered competent from their experience as practice administrators or healthcare assistants and possess a current Enhanced DBS disclosure.

Pearson BTEC Level 4 Award in General Practice Assistant – (foundation degree level)

This programme is based on self-directed learning and there is no formal training provided externally to the practice.

Learners will need to dedicate one full day a week to the course, which can be achieved flexibly whilst remaining in their place of work. Half a day will be spent working on an online portal to provide evidence of their learning, and half a day gaining hands-on experience with a GP mentor or appropriate member of the Practice/PCN workforce.  

The course takes 6 months to complete.

Funding

There is no charge for participating in this programme.  There will be a total of £2,120 paid to PCNs and GP practices per GPA. This would be split between £1,700 plus a further £420 for the GPA mentor. Therefore, a total of £2,120 will be paid directly to the GP practice taking part. The £1,700 is to be used to support protected learning time for the GPA whilst they are undertaking the learning programme. The £420 is to support 1:1 sessions and mentoring time.

Supervision Requirements

Learners will need to be supported by a named GP in practice who will act as mentor and assessor. Trainees may spend time with others, such as practice nurses to gain experience in clinical duties such as blood pressure measurement, but the GP mentor will ultimately be responsible for signing-off the GPA as competent.

Learning & Development

The qualification gives learners the opportunity to:

  • Develop the fundamental technical skills and underpinning knowledge and understanding required to become competent in the job role.  These cover the following areas: administration; care; clinical; communications; and managing health records.
  • Develop appropriate professional attitudes and behaviours  that will support personal success in their job role and the long-term success of their organisation

Develop a range of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills to support progression to, and success in, further study and career advancement

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