Meet the medical experts here to help you
Doctors' surgeries are busier than ever. It is important to us to provide you the right care at the right time and make sure that our doctors see patients who need their advice.
To do this general practice is working as a team of medical experts and support staff, led and supervised by the GP. There are new members of staff and systems in place to support GPs to look after your needs.
To get you to the right person receptionists are trained to ask you for a bit of information about what is wrong so they know which medical expert you need to see. They want to help as many people as possible to get appointments from the right medical experts each day. Some GPs see up to 75 patients a day when they used to see an average of about 25.
It might be that you will get an appointment with a trained expert more suited to your needs, such as a nurse, pharmacist or physiotherapist. You may also see a new expert like a physician associate or a social prescriber.
Different practices have different types of staff. It is worth checking your practice website for information or asking practice staff.
GP practices now work together in local networks.
This lets them share expertise and provide more services for their patients. It means you may sometimes be offered an appointment at a neighbouring practice, for example, if that practice is providing the out-of-hours service.
Meet your GP practice team
Your general practice may have the following staff in the team.
First point of contact. They are trained to direct you to the most appropriate service or prof
essional to help you further.
GP or doctor
A doctor based in the community who can diagnose and treat most common medical
conditions and refer patients to hospitals and other services for urgent or specialist treatment.
There are different types of nurses working in your doctor’s surgery. The practice nurse supports everyday health needs including dressings, wound care, minor injuries, vaccinations, and routine screening. Some are specialists, eg. in diabetes and respiratory care.
The advanced nurse practitioner is a highly skilled specialist nurse, who is qualified to make decisions on assessment, diagnosis and treatment.
Nurse prescribers are responsible for clinical assessment and diagnosis as well as the prescribing of medicine.
There are different types of pharmacists working in your doctor’s surgery. Clinical pharmacists are experts in medicines. They can provide advice for patients on multiple and long-term medications to make sure medicines are working for them.
Prescribing pharmacists are trained to provide advice on a range of minor ailments and conditions, and some are able prescribe medicines.
Connects people to a wide range of local community services to help people with their physical and mental health and wellbeing, and welfare.
Physician associates (PAs) are healthcare professionals who work as part of a multidisciplinary team under the supervision of a named senior doctor (a General Medical Council (GMC) registered consultant or GP). While they are not medical doctors, PAs can assess, diagnose and treat patients in primary, secondary and community care environments within their scope of practice.
PAs are part of NHS England's medical associates professions (MAPs) workforce grouping. PAs have been part of the healthcare workforce for 20 years. MAPs add to the breadth of skills within multisdiciplinary teams, to help meet the needs of patients and enbable more care to be delivered in clinical settings. PAs do not fall under the allied health professions (AHPs) or advanced practice groups.
Assess, diagnose, and provide advice on managing conditions which affect your bones and joints. They can refer to specialist services if necessary.
Mental health practitioner
Trained in mental health care, they are able to signpost you to specialist services if needed.
Paramedics work alongside GPs to care for patients in their clinics and in their own home. They are able to assess, diagnosis and treat quality patient services and refer on to other services when needed.
Healthcare assistants work alongside nurses and other practice staff and can be your first point of contact for a range of care such as wound dressing, health advice and checks.
Other NHS service you can use
You can also use NHS 111 online to be assessed and directed to the care you need and can sometimes book appointments for you. If you cannot get online, dial 111 on your phone. In an emergency, you should always dial 999.
Your community pharmacist can advise on everyday complaints such as coughs, colds and skin rashes. Pharmacists are highly trained, expert clinicians who can usually be seen quickly. They will tell you if you need to see a GP or other professional.