Canon Street Medical Centre

Practice Roles

The GP practice team used to consist mainly of GPs supported by nurses or advanced nurse
practitioners. Nowadays, the GP practice team is now made up of a much wider mix of health
professionals, led by GPs, who work together to look after people’s health and wellbeing.
They are all highly skilled in their own areas of expertise. The exact combination of roles may
vary from practice to practice.

So that everyone is seen as quickly as possible, it is important patients are matched with the most
appropriate health professional for their particular medical problem and that staff members make
use of the full extent of their training and experience.

GPs will always care for the most seriously ill patients in the practice or those with more
complicated illnesses. It is not the best use of their time and expertise if they see patients that
other members of the practice team are qualified and experienced to be able to deal with.
If a patient is seen by one professional, such as a nurse, but then needs to be seen by someone
else, such as a doctor, this will happen safely and seamlessly.

General Practitioners (GPs)

GPs oversee all aspects of patient care. They are here to deal with complex medical problems or where a patient has more than one health condition. They meet regularly with other members of the practice team to plan joint approaches to coordinate a patient’s care. All other members of the practice team work under the supervision of a GP.
They can help with:
• Diagnosing and treating a health condition
• Ordering tests and interpreting results
• Prescribing medication where necessary
• Referring you to hospital and other medical services for urgent and specialised treatment.

Care Coordinators / Reception Team / GP Assistants
Care Coordinators working in practice reception teams are specially trained to know about the care and services available to you at your practice and in your area. While the name of this role may differ in your practice, they’ll listen and talk to you in confidence about your health problem, to understand your needs so they can book you an appointment with the right healthcare professional or service.
They can help you:

  • Get seen as soon as possible
  • Know whether self-referral is available for certain services at your practice or in your area
  • Make appointments for new kinds of care or new services you may not be aware of
  • Get an appointment with the appropriate healthcare professional

Healthcare Assistants
Healthcare Assistants work under the guidance of a nurse or another healthcare professional. They help with routine health checks and provide patients with general health and wellbeing advice.
They can help with:

  • Health checks, such as blood pressure monitoring or taking blood samples
  • Vaccinations and injections
  • Healthy living advice, e.g. stopping smoking and weight loss

First Contact Physiotherapists
Physiotherapists in general practice are experts in musculoskeletal conditions. They are able to assess, diagnose and treat arrange of complex muscle and joint conditions, preventing the need for referrals to hospital. They can arrange swift access to further treatment, investigations and specialists when needed.
They can help with:

  • Diagnosing and treating muscular and
    joint conditions
  • Advising on how to manage your condition
  • Referrals on to specialist services

Clinical Pharmacists
Clinical Pharmacists are experts in medicines and can help people stay as well as possible. They support those with long-term conditions like asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure or anyone taking multiple medicines to make sure their medication is working. They work with GPs, local pharmacies and hospitals to ensure that medicine services are joined up. Some Clinical Pharmacists can also prescribe medicines.
They can help with:

  • In-depth reviews of your medicines if you have a long-term condition
  • Agreeing and making changes to your prescription
  • Advice about medicines and side effects

Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy Technicians support and advise patients about how to take medication and can recommend other methods and services that can help them to manage their health condition.

General Practice Nurses
Nurses in general practice undertake a wide range of roles and are involved in almost every aspect of a patient’s care, assessing, screening and treating people of all ages. They can treat many health conditions and arrange any necessary tests. In addition to providing traditional aspects of nursing care such as wound care, immunisations and administration of medicines, they run health checks and clinics for those with long-term conditions such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes.
They can help with:

  • Vaccinations and injections
  • Supporting people with long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes
  • Healthy living advice, e.g. stopping smoking and weight loss
  • Family planning and sexual health advice, including smear tests

Physician Associates
Physician Associates are trained and qualified to diagnose and treat a wide range of health conditions. They work alongside GPs to provide care to people, particularly those with long-term conditions who often benefit from being able to see the same healthcare professional.
They can help with:

  • Diagnosing and treating health conditions
  • Arranging tests and analysing results
  • Performing physical examinations

Mental Health Therapists and Practitioners
Mental health professionals in general practice may also be known as Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners, High Intensity Therapists or Cognitive Behavioural Therapists. They specialise in mental health and use a range of talking therapies to help people with common mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorders. Sessions are usually one-on-one but can also be in couple or group settings, by phone or online. Referral can be via your GP practice or directly via a local psychological therapies service.
They can help with:

  • Talking therapies
  • Tools and techniques to manage symptoms
  • Support for those experiencing the psychological effects of managing long-term conditions, such as diabetes

Social Prescriber
Social prescribing involves helping people to improve their health and wellbeing by connecting them to activities and services in the community. Link Workers connect those feeling lonely, overwhelmed or in need of help to a range of local support, from community and activity groups to work, debt or housing advice.
They can help with:
• Getting people to focus on their own priorities and the things that affect their wellbeing
• Supporting people to take more control of their health
• Introducing people to groups and activities in their community