North Central London Training Hub homepage

What does the role involve? 

GP Assistants work alongside GPs within the surgery undertaking any task that enables them to undertake their role more efficiently and effectively. In practice they undertake both clinical and administration tasks which may include: 

  • Taking information from patients requesting same-day appointments by telephone before they have contact with a GP; 

  • Preparing patients for examination; 

  • Following up consultations by drafting letters, preparing forms or making telephone calls; 

  • Providing simple health promotion and lifestyle advice; 

  • Undertaking tasks such as venepuncture, urine testing, blood pressure recording, ECGs. 

What benefit does this role bring to primary care? 

It is estimated that GPs spend on average 11% of their time on administration, emails and tasks which do not necessarily require a doctor or nurse to complete. This is a major cause of workload stress and a significant issue cited by GPs leaving the profession early. It is estimated that if other staff took on even half of this work, this would be equivalent to 14000 more full time GPs in England. 

GP Assistant as an ARRS Role

NHSE recently announced the introduction of the GP Assistant role to the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) in late September 2022 to scale up additional roles in primary care, as well as increasing flexibility for primary care networks (PCNs) to do this to support general practice. The aim is to boost capacity within Primary Care and the NHS ahead of winter pressures. with details outlined in the following letter sent by NHSE to GP Practices and Primary Care Network leads on 26 September 2022: https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/supporting-general-practice-primary-care-networks-and-their-teams-through-winter-and-beyond/

FAQs to support – Introduction of GP Assistant (GPA) role in the ARRS Scheme

NHSE have since provided further FAQs (below) to support implementation of the GPA role, and have asked to direct any general queries on the inclusion of the GPA role in the ARRS scheme to: england.primarycareworkforce@nhs.net

1. Where should we direct queries about the inclusion of the GPA role in the additional roles scheme?

Please direct all queries to england.primarycareworkforce@nhs.net.

2. Where should we direct staff members who would like to take up the accredited national GPA training offer?

Please direct them to transformation@hee.nhs.uk.

3. Can I receive ARRS funding from Oct onwards for a GPA who is currently studying on the accredited programme?

Yes. GPAs were not included in PCN baselines. As such, PCNs are able to employ GPNs, and claim reimbursement for their salaries as with any other additional role, if staff meet the requirements outlined in the Network Contract DES.

4. Once the GPA has completed training and moves from Trainee GPA to GPA, are they still eligible for funding?

Yes

5. Is back dated funding available for a GPA who has already passed the accredited programme and hired into the role?

No, PCNs can only claim reimbursement for GPA salaries from the point at which the role is introduced in the Network Contract DES. It is not possible to claim funding for back dated salaries prior to that date.

6. Is there a cap on numbers for Trainee GPAs?

No, recruitment is not capped.

7. Can non-accredited GPAs move between practices?

Yes, hiring decisions are made by individual PCNs, which hold responsibility for ensuring that staff meet the requirements of the DES.

8. Can each practice interpret what the job role will be, or will there be a requirement for them to choose either a non-clinical or ‘hybrid’ role (clinical and non-clinical)?

PCNs practices can choose how to deploy staff in this role, within the outlines of the competency framework and role description.

9. Is there any support offered/monitoring of progress or will this be down to the GP practice? How will learners complete if no evidence has to be submitted?

GPAs can choose to take part in the formal accreditation programme. If they do not, they will be expected to develop competencies, under the supervision of a GP, in line with the competency framework.

10. What are the implications on indemnity and public liability insurance and/or arrangements?

GPAs will operate under the contract, guidance and supervision of GPs, as with other ARRS roles. GPs hold responsibility for services delivered under their contract.

For more information see :