PMA launches new course to relieve GP clerical workload

Practice Managers Association (PMA) launches new medical administrator/GP assistant diploma to relieve clerical workload for GPs; the new medical administrator role could reduce 15 million unnecessary GP appointments

The Practice Managers Association (PMA) has launched a new PMA medical administrator/GP assistant – City & Guilds level 3 diploma in business administration – to help reduce clerical duties for GPs. The course will be majority funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

The diploma has been created to provide valuable training to admin staff and help alleviate mounting workloads created by the rising number of ‘boomerang’ GP appointments.

According to an audit carried out in 2015 by NHS Alliance and the Primary Care Foundation, one in four GP appointments is potentially avoidable, with an estimated 15 million appointments wasted due to doctors handling nonclinical tasks such as rearranging hospital appointments or chasing test results.

In 2017, Health Education England (HEE) announced a pilot scheme for a new position within primary care to support GPs with administrative and basic clinical tasks. The medical administrator or GP assistant can take responsibility for duties including taking medical histories, performing examinations, analysing test results and implementing health promotion activities to improve lifestyle outcomes.

The PMA course – which will typically take between 12 to 15 months to complete – is designed to teach specific skills pertinent to health such as communication, confidentiality, infection prevention and medical technology. Candidates will work collaboratively with the Practice Team to meet the needs of the patients, undertaking clinical and administrative tasks and duties under the supervision of senior professionals within the practice.

Austin Ambrose, director at PMA said: “No doctor working in general practice expects the sheer volume of administrative responsibilities. As a result, a record number of GPs are seeking early retirement or leaving the profession entirely due to mounting pressure, rising patient numbers and an increase in non-clinical tasks.”

“To improve the recruitment and retention of GPs we need to find alternative solutions to eliminate administrative delays and staff churn. Introducing new positions like medical administrators will ultimately free up GP appointments and allow doctors to perform clinical duties as intended. Our diploma, which is majority funded by ESFA, will provide admin staff with valuable professional development and potential career opportunities for the future.”

For more information on the diploma including entry requirements visit the PMA website.


About the PMA
The Practice Managers Association (PMA) is a UK-wide membership body that provides insight, training, education and interaction opportunities for those involved in primary care. As an ILM and City & Guilds approved centre, it facilitates and promotes best practice, offering education and support to practice staff. Having delivered workshops locally to many NHS organisations, the PMA

comes highly recommended as a provider of excellence in primary care workforce development. The ILM award an Excellence in Practice Management certificate for attendance at any six PMA workshops. Further development opportunities include PMA ILM Level 3, PMA ILM Level 5 and PMA Level 7 Diplomas in Leadership and Management, PMA Medical Administrator/GP Assistant (City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration) and PMA Dental Practice Manager (ILM Level 4 Diploma). Benefits of registration include discounted rates for PMA workshops, free blogs, monthly newsletters and bulletins. Follow on Twitter and LinkedIn for daily news updates. 

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