Nowadays there are a seemingly bewildering number of different types of clinicians and in this article we aim to give you a little more of an idea of the work they do for you and the surgery. You can see more details for individual clinicians by scrolling down.
The NHS recognises that many patients need help and support that is not purely of a clinical nature. Social prescribing supports patients with a range of local, non-clinical services to support their patient’s health and wellbeing. This is not about the prescribing of medications. Our Social Prescriber has built up her knowledge of local organisations and support groups allowing her to sign-post patients to the best support and help that it available. Social prescribing recognises that people’s health and wellbeing are determined as well, by a range of social, economic and environmental factors, and social prescribing seeks to address people’s needs in a holistic way. It also aims to support individuals to take greater control of their own health and wellbeing and giving people the tools to enrich their own lives long term.
Physician Associate (PA)
Physician associates (PAs) are healthcare professionals with a generalist medical education, who work alongside our doctors providing medical care as part of the multidisciplinary team. PAs are able to take histories, examine patients, order and interpret investigations, and diagnose patients. They support doctors and are science graduates who have undertaken 2 years of further postgraduate medical training before qualifying. The training for our newest PA, Isabelle Fabregas, included placements in a variety of different hospital departments, including cardiology, gastroenterology, care of the elderly, A&E, and obstetrics and gynaecology.
Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP)
ANPs are nurses who have completed further training over the course of several years. One of our ANPs additional training included ‘Critical Illness management’. Often ANPS will have a special interest in, for example, diabetes care or Frailty. ANPs can ‘see, diagnose, prescribe’ and this means they can usually help a patient without having to refer to a doctor. Our ANPs also form part of the on the day care team and will often make home visits in the first instance. They can complete referrals.
Our two paramedics are at the surgery to see on the day acute appointments. They can assess a variety of different conditions and see a variety ages from the young and the elderly. Like doctors, paramedics can refer to specialist care teams within the hospital and request blood tests for the GP to follow up on. The paramedics here at the surgery also provide home visits for those unable to come into the surgery. This allows the GP’s more time to see patients within surgery. As with any clinician working at the surgery, they will always ensure they seek help or guidance from a colleague should that be required.
Our Nursing team provide a huge range of appointments for our patients. This can be anything from specialist wound dressings to discussions on contraception and the various options available to our patients. Amongst other appointments offered by the team are cervical screening, child immunisations, chronic disease reviews and a wide range of injections including flu and shingles vaccines. Nurse Lead Rachel specialises in dementia, frailty and adult safeguarding. She also leads the Living Well Team.
We also have two Nurse Associates who are placed between registered nurses and our health care assistant team. They are qualified to degree level and registered, like nurses, with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Health Care Assistant (HCA)
HCA’s carry out a number of vital everyday procedures for our patients. The majority of these will be appointments for blood tests and blood pressure readings. In addition, you might see our HCAs take an ECG or meet them when you come to have your foot checks as part of an annual diabetic review. HCAs will also administer various injections including B12, pneumonia and shingles.
Our 3 Clinical Pharmacists all undertake broadly the same role within the surgery and have the same level of knowledge (after 5 years training) as the pharmacists you might see in Boots or Preddy’s; their roles are quite different though. They undertake medication reviews to ensure each patients medication is appropriate to continue with. This decision will be based on test results and previous recent medical history. The pharmacist does not always need to speak to the patient to complete these reviews. They will also review high-risk medications, e.g. methotrexate, and ensure that all blood tests are up-to-date, respond to medication and script queries. Pharmacy Technicians work alongside their pharmacist colleagues, they cannot prescribe medication but can discuss and provide information and guidance on the medications you are taking.
In our previous article we clarified that there is no ‘right’ for a patient to see a doctor. Many of you will be familiar with our process whereby the member of the reception team asks you about the concerns you have and your reason for requesting an appointment. This is a process used widely within Primary care. We ask these questions so that we can do our best to ensure you are seen by the correct health care professional.
Finally, we are always appreciative of your feedback. Please be aware that we are currently sending out SMS asking for your Friends and Family Test (FFT) feedback when you have had an appointment. There are paper copies of the forms in the surgery should you wish to complete one. We are also pleased to receive your comments, queries and feedback via our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org