GP Assistants

Published: 18th June 2019

What is it?

The GP Assistant (GPA) is a new role being created in order to relieve some of the pressure on GPs. Former RCGP Chair Dr Maureen Baker says the assistants would be ‘a cross between a healthcare assistant and a doctor’s PA’ which could provide a ‘short term injection of support’ for general practice.

After the successful pilot Health Education England have commissioned a further 40 places across the North West in conjunction with The Spinney Enhanced Training Hub.

Places are extremely limited and we ask the only those who are serious about completing the framework and who are supported fully by their practices apply.

What do GP Assistants do in practice?

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.

As a GP Assistant you will 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, 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

How is the GP Assistant framework delivered?

The GPA framework is an experiential course that is led by a GP at your practice.  They will work through the competencies within the framework with you in a tutorial and you will write up your evidence of your understanding for them to mark.

We will provide you with an on line facility called the Learning Assistant where the framework will be stored and you will upload your written evidence to this portal.  Your GP mentor will have their own log in and will use this to mark your work.  We will have sight of your progress throughout and we will externally verify your evidence via this portal.

You will need to dedicate one full day a week to the framework. Half a day working through the competencies on the online portal and writing up your evidence and half a day gaining hands on experience with your GP mentor.  You may find your GP mentor may second you to the practice nurse to help you train in areas relating to simple clinical duties such as blood pressures but they will ultimately be responsible for signing you off as competent.  This can take time and we recommend that this is done weekly also and not left to the end of the framework.  We would expect work to be sent back on occasion for revision so timings are important.  We will offer an element of funding to the practice for this mentor/marking time.

You will need to be supported by a GP who will act as your mentor.  Assuming you meet the entry criteria (detailed below) your GP mentor can put you forward for the GP Assistant Certificate.

The workbook syllabus has been created by GPs, Practice Managers and Nurses. The level 4 certificate has been accredited by University of Chester.

The aim of the framework is to support a standardised approach to practices upskilling their team.


What is the entry criteria?

Places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis and will have to be shared equally across all CCG areas within the NW.   There will be a short interview over the telephone to ensure the learner, workplace and support are fully aware of the framework requirements.  Candidates can be put forward by the GP who will be mentoring them and the Practice Manager.


We would expect that the candidate is already considered competent in good patient care from their experience as members of a GP practice and be DBS checked to an enhanced level.

The candidate must have a named GP mentor who will be responsible for supporting them through their competencies.  Should a GP mentor not be able to guarantee regular tutorials then this framework is not achievable.

An application form should be completed and submitted to


What is the cost?

This is a HEE funded project and as such bares no cost to the practice/learner. In fact your practice will be eligible for £1700 per candidate in recognition of the clinical time given to support learners and any training outlay, such as phlebotomy, you may decide to undertake. This will be paid to the practice on completion of the GPA Certificate and any reporting requirements have been met.


How long will it take?

 We expect learners to have completed the framework in 6 months.


When does it start?

We will be holding a launch event and inviting successful applicants, their GP mentors and practice managers on the 8th July at 1pm in St Helens Merseyside.  Log in details will be emailed out to learners and mentors that week and we expect all to have logged on to the Learning Assistant and have started the framework no later than Monday 15th July 2019.

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