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Pilot 'GP Assistants' scheme to reduce pressure on Norfolk's GPs

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A year-long pilot scheme will see the introduction of General Practice Assistants to doctors surgeries across the county.

It comes after Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) was successful in its bid for £100,000 to lead the roll out of GP Assistants across the area.

The year-long pilot will train 40 GP Assistants in Norfolk and Waveney, who will provide high level non-clinical support to GP practices and reduce the administrative burden on clinical professionals.

A doctor talking to a patient (7206363)
A doctor talking to a patient (7206363)

Recruiting more administration staff is part of Norfolk and Waveney STP’s primary care workforce strategy and through its work it has already identified that it will need an additional 120 admin staff over the next five years.

The GP Assistants programme is funded by Health Education England and will be led by Norfolk and Waveney’s five GP provider organisations, which includes West Norfolk Health.

The programme will also involve working with key partners in the East of England, such as primary care networks, Clinical Commissioning Groups and training hubs, to support the spread of the GP Assistant role across the region.

Norfolk and Waveney STP will be one of seven ‘lead’ Primary Care Training Hubs across the country.

Dr Emma Brandon, a GP in North Walsham and chairwoman of the Norfolk and Waveney STP Training Hub, said: “This is really exciting news. We know from earlier pilot projects that GP Assistants can help relieve pressure on busy GPs by helping to reduce the burden of clinical correspondence and day to day tasks.”

The GP Assistant role will include:

n Acting as a focal point for patient/carer enquiries

n Providing an in-depth understanding of health demographics and the cultural needs of patient groups

n Signposting patients to the most appropriate services where the GP surgery may not be the best option

n Where appropriate, acting on test results in line with local policy and procedures

n Managing referrals and prescriptions

n Sorting clinical post and prioritising directly

n Taking accurate minutes of complex and sensitive meetings

n Transcribing and preparing medical reports

n Using patient related electronic systems

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