gP assistant

The GP Assistant (GPA) is a role that was 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.



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

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 [email protected]  


We do not provide a GPA, we do not pay their salary and this is not an employment scheme. This is a course which provides a framework for you to upskill an existing member of your team to become a GPA.

There are no external courses/workshops/training provided. The learning is experiential.  We provide resources for you to tap in to as a mentor to work through with your learner and we provide the framework in order to meet the competencies to become a GPA.  In addition we provide up to date guidance, legislation and tutorial content where appropriate.

The learner does not have to leave the practice to complete the course. The learner will log in to a web based portal which houses the framework.  They will submit evidence which supports their understanding.

The mentor has to provide time to support the learner. The GP mentor needs to dedicate time to work through the modules and teach the learner.  This can be outsourced to other members of the team such as Practice Nurse for certain clinical areas or the Practice Manager for certain admin areas for example.  Remember though, the GP mentor will be logging on to the portal and marking the learner as competent so they need to be suitably assured.

The course needs to be completed in 9 months. It is really important that you plan to start the course as soon after receiving your log in dates as possible.  9 months is not long to get through all the modules.

The learner and the mentor need to have protected time. We recommend 1 day a week where possible.  ½ a day teaching and ½ day where the learner writes and uploads their evidence.  Please do not put a candidate forward if you cannot afford them this time or you are unable to mentor.

Both the learner and the mentor need to be relatively proficient with IT. Both the learner and the mentor will be provided with a user name and a password to access the Sysco Portal.  You will be provided with a user guide also which will show you how to log on, access the course content, access where to upload evidence and where the mentor accesses their learners work to mark them as competent.

Support is available. We will hold a meeting for mentors and learners at the beginning of the course.   We have a dedicated email address for course content queries and also a dedicated email address for any Learning Assistant issues you may have.

All modules must be completed. Even if a learner is an existing HCA and has completed certain elements of the course previously, they still need to upload their evidence to demonstrate this.  Of course there may not be any need for the learner to be mentored in this area if they already have a good understanding and they can go straight to uploading their statement of understanding. 

Additionally there may be some elements that you do not plan to utilise in your practice such as phlebotomy for example.  Again this module will need to be completed in order to demonstrate the framework competencies.


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.

We expect learners to have completed the framework in 9 months.

We will be holding a launch event and inviting successful applicants, their GP mentors and practice managers on the 26th March 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 Friday 3rd April.

Well ultimately this will be up to the practice.  You may already have systems in place to deal with certain pieces of work and may just want to plug gaps.  Alternatively you may want a complete system change practice wide.  The choice is yours.  The GPA Framework will provide candidates with the tools to offer a variety of services to support the GP. 


Watch how one GP practice in the North West has developed a new Medical Assistant role, transforming the way they work and practice.

Next Steps

Places are limited to 1 learner per practice.  Priority will be given to geographical areas and/or practices that HAVE NOT PREVIOUSLY BEEN PART OF THE PILOT AND HAVE NO GPA IN PLACE. You will be informed via email if you have been successful in securing a place.  If successful this email will be followed up with a telephone call to assure your suitability.

Contact us on the email address below to express your interest.

[email protected]