Your GP surgery team is made up of a range of healthcare professionals with the expertise to help you with your health needs.
Often the perception is that patients have to be treated by a doctor; however this is not always the case as doctors within your GP surgery are supported by a specialist team of nurses, healthcare assistants, physiotherapists and pharmacists.
Below is information to explain the roles of different staff that might be working within your GP surgery and how they can support you to manage your health and wellbeing.
Care Navigators are members of the surgery reception team who have been trained to help patients get the right care from the right healthcare professional, as soon as possible, by asking for a little more detail from the patient when they book an appointment.
Advanced Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Practitioners are highly-trained professionals and can undertake complex reviews of patients, just like GPs. They can assess symptoms and build a picture of a patient's condition, treat minor health problems, infections, minor injuries and prescribe medication where necessary.
Clinical Pharmacists are becoming more commonplace in GP practices and are qualified professionals whose skills include reviewing medications for patients who have long term conditions. They can also treat minor illnesses and refer patients onto other services.
Healthcare Assistants can assist with a range of minor clinical duties, like taking blood samples, blood pressure checks etc, under the guidance of the wider healthcare professional team. They work alongside the team and support with observing, monitoring and recording patients' conditions to provide joined-up care.
Paramedic Practitioners or Emergency Care Practitioners carry out home visits and give advice over the phone to patients unable to travel to the surgery. Patients normally seen by a Paramedic Practitioner are normally elderly, infirm or nearing end of life.
This means doctors and other healthcare staff are able to see and treat more patients in the surgery.
Musculoskeletal health issues such as back, muscle and joint pains are the most common cause of repeat GP appointments and account for around 1 in 5 of all GP appointments. Most of them can be dealt with effectively by a physiotherapist without any need to see the GP.
Research shows physiotherapists are the most expert professional group regarding musculoskeletal issues with the exception of orthopaedic consultants. They have the same high safety record as GPs and some are trained to administer steroid injections, order diagnostic tests including scans, and also prescribe medication.
People visit their GPs for a range of different reasons and sometimes these issues can make a person ill. It may be caused by non-medical matters such as loneliness, anxiety, unemployment or debt.
Social Prescribers also known as Link Workers, work in partnership with GP surgeries and can give you the confidence you need to access appropriate support in the community to help you make positive changes to your personal wellbeing.