Primary Care Practice Assistant
A new type of health care worker to be introduced in a number of Auckland GP practices aims to benefit patients by freeing up the time of both GPs and nurses.
Comprehensive Care is being supported by Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) to demonstrate the role of the primary care practice assistant (PCPA) across a variety of general practice settings in Waitemata PHO.
The demonstration aims to develop the scope of practice for this role and test the sustainability of the role in the New Zealand context.
Nineteen students are being recruited to train as PCPAs, including some assistants, receptionists, enrolled nurses and medical assistants already working in local primary care practices.
Likely PCPA tasks will include administrative and clinical work to support the primary care team ranging from assisting with nurse led clinics (immunisation, screening, diabetes), recording clinical measurements, treatment room preparation, and a variety of tasks as required. All clinical tasks will be completed under the direction and delegation of a GP or practice nurse.
Comprehensive Care, AUT University and Unitec Institute of Technology have developed a practice assistant education programme at Level 4 and 5 (NZQA). Students will begin their practice-based and tertiary learning in February 2012 with tertiary studies being undertaken part-time over three semesters.
The demonstration will run for two years and will be fully evaluated to assess the impact on the health workforce, including assessment of professional time saved and the cost and benefits of introducing the role nationally.
There are 19 PCPA trainees in their second semester of academic study at Unitec/AUT in Auckland. The combination of practical and theory based learning that this course offers enables PCPAs to work across the whole practice; administration, reception and clinical work. Based on the practices needs the PCPA role is flexible and can shift focus over time, especially as the PCPA builds up skills and confidence with on-the-job experience.
The first evaluation results will be available early this year and will provide details about the effectiveness of the PCPA role and the potential productivity and cost benefits that the role brings to a variety of practice models.
For more information see:
- Primary Care Practice Assistant FAQs
- Primary Care Practice Assistant demonstration media release (PDF, 92.63KB)
Primary Care Practice Assistant Trainees