How will it work

Distribution of funding

A total fund of £45 million is available over the next five years (2016/17 – 2020/21) to go towards the costs of training and backfill for reception and clerical staff. It will be allocated via CCGs each year. Over the full five years, nearly 80 pence per patient will be allocated, on a non-weighted basis, as follows:

Year National fund total Allocated to CCG for practices (amount per patient, non-weighted)
2016-17 £5 m £0.09
2017-18 £10 m £0.18
2018-19 £10 m £0.18
2019-20 £10 m £0.18
2020-21 £10 m £0.18
Total £45 m £0.79

For 2016-17, funding was allocated in September 2016. In subsequent years, funding will be allocated to CCGs on a non-weighted per-patient basis at the beginning of the financial year. CCGs will be required to report how this fund is spent as part of their wider reporting of GP Forward View activity, to ensure that all money intended for supporting general practice reaches general practice.

Criteria for use of this funding

In liaison with their practices and the LMC, CCGs will agree how best to distribute money for practices. Many CCGs are adding their own investment to the fund, as well as working with practices and other CCGs to arrange training in blocks of practices.

This funding is allocated solely for the purpose of supporting the training of reception and clerical staff in GP practices to undertake active signposting and document management, as specified below. Other training needs for clerical and reception staff (for example, customer service, information governance, understanding Read or Snomed codes, safeguarding) remain the responsibility of the employer, and are not covered by this funding.

The funds may be used for any of the following:

  • The cost of purchasing training
  • Backfill costs for practices to cover staff time spent undertaking training
  • Support in kind for practices for planning this change or undertaking training

The training should cover one or both of the following:

Training staff in active signposting for patients

Active signposting requires the receptionist to be skilled and confident in sensitively ascertaining the nature of the patient’s need and exploring with them safe and appropriate options. These options will usually include sources of advice and support outside the practice as well as within, and will often be drawn from a directory of services.

Essential features to look for:

  • Inclusion of a focus on recognising red flag symptoms which require urgent medical attention.
  • Skills development to ensure staff are confident in communicating available options.
  • Opportunities to hear from receptionists already using active signposting.
  • Support for the practice to develop its own directory of services, including the opportunity to learn from other practices’ examples.

Training staff in document management

Correspondence management involves clerical staff coding incoming clinical correspondence, taking actions where appropriate, including forwarding it to another member of the team, or passing the letter to a GP for action if a clinical decision is required. It is a more advanced task than document processing or coding alone. It requires clerical staff to be skilled and confident to make decisions about how to code a letter and its contents in the patient record, how to use an approved protocol for deciding which letters need to be sent to a GP and with what level of urgency, and when to ask for help.

Essential features to look for:

  • Support for the practice to develop its own internal systems including a safe and appropriate protocol to guide staff, a system of supervision (especially for the early stages of implementation) and regular audits of safety and effectiveness. This should include the opportunity to learn from other practices’ examples.
  • Opportunities for practice managers, GPs and staff to hear from others who are already working in this way.

Other training needs for clerical and reception staff (for example, customer service, information governance, understanding Read or Snomed codes, safeguarding) remain the responsibility of the employer, and are not covered by this funding.

The funds may be used for any of the following:

  • The cost of purchasing training
  • Backfill costs for practices to cover staff time spent undertaking training
  • Support in kind for practices for planning this change or undertaking training

Directory of training providers

The CCG and their practices may choose any training provider they deem appropriate. There is a rapidly growing market of training meeting the above criteria. To suggest an offer for addition here, please email

The providers below are listed in no particular order. They have been confirmed by NHS England’s general practice development team to be offering training which meets the criteria listed above. Listing here does not constitute a recommendation and NHS England makes no other claims or guarantees regarding the training provided nor its outcomes.

West Wakefield Health and Wellbeing

Based in West Wakefield, this social enterprise was established to support primary care transformation, initially through the Prime Minister’s GP Access Fund and later as part of the new care models vanguard programme.

Training for active signposting

We are in the process of developing an accredited training package which includes guided learning, online sessions plus consultancy to support the development of systems and processes where you are.

Receptionists are offering choice not making clinical decisions. Our training includes a number of vignettes from the simple to the complex, including recognition of red flags and use of computer-based templates. Trainees will work through examples themselves, and there are formative assessments throughout with a required pass rate.

Working with Certa, our national awarding organisation partner, we have created a unique Accredited Certificate in Care Navigation training package. With interactive guided learning, flexible online sessions and consultancy to support the development of systems and processes where you are, our comprehensive training package contains everything your organisation needs to deliver a safe, effective care navigation service. Each learner receives a certificate of achievement and access to a progression pathway giving frontline staff chance to build on their skills and competencies even further.



Here is a not-for-profit social enterprise and primary care federation, bringing together GPs, clinicians, staff and other health partners to improve services and patient care.

Training for document management

Workflow Optimisation was an approach to document management developed as part of the Prime Minister’s GP Access Fund. It provides a proven framework giving practices the confidence to redirect the flow of clinical administration work within the practice – releasing GPs to spend a greater proportion of their time with their patients. Practices are assured that clinical administration will be handled safely and accurately.

The outcome is that up to 80% of the patient correspondence is completed without the GP, freeing up approximately 40 minutes of GP time each day. Patients and their clinicians can then make informed decisions about their health which allows people to move onto the next step in their health care journey safely and efficiently.

The Training Programme

The training programme consists of:

  • 4-day training course for administrators. Administrators are trained to read, code and action incoming clinical correspondence safely and accurately. Administrators are trained on their practices own patients – ensuring that the training as realistic as possible. Training courses are taught in small groups of up to 16 trainees with a maximum ratio of 4 trainees to every trainer.
  • Half-day training course for GP Champions. GP Champions attend a half-day training course learning the key responsibilities of their role – the role is pivotal in ensuring the practice achieves a safe, sustainable and full implementation of Workflow Optimisation. The training includes; the principles and processes underpinning Workflow Optimisation, the role of auditing and feedback in ensuring clinical governance and assurance, the medication protocol and other key protocols.
  • Follow-up visits to support implementation. Follow-up visits can be provided to support practices in implementing Workflow Optimisation, to provide a refresher on any aspects the practice remains unsure of and to troubleshoot any issues encountered by the practice.

In addition to the training programme, practices also benefit from:

  • An e-learning platform
  • Training resources (including manuals, policies, protocols etc).
  • An online forum
  • Remote support from the Workflow Optimisation team for the duration of the contract.
  • Medical indemnity assurance for Workflow Optimisation as confirmed by the Medical Defence Union (MDU) and the Medical Protection Society (MPS).
  • CPD accreditation for the GP Champion element of the training programme

Contact: or 01273 560291

AT Medics

AT Medics is London’s largest primary care provider, serving 170,000 patients across 30 sites. The group provides innovative services and has a track record of innovation in training and improving quality and productivity.

Training for document management

EZ DOC™ is a systemised approach to managing GP letters, safely enabling administrative staff to handle most of the letters traditionally forwarded to GP’s. EZ DOC™ focuses on managing incoming correspondence safely and efficiently, reducing the amount of time GPs spend on administration, and building resilience and a well-connected practice team. The benefits have been:

  • efficiency: an hour of GP administration time saved every day per GP
  • safety: significant improvement in clinical safety
  • cost saving: £11,000 worth of annual savings per practice per 1000 patients
  • satisfaction: huge increase in clinical and administration staff satisfaction

The training programme

EZ DOC™ was developed by GPs at AT Medics, and a standard training approach has been developed, which has successfully rolled out the approach in over 25 GP practices to date.

The approach combines face to face training with the EZ DOC web-tool which enables individual practice teams to easily access information, training, assessment to ensure proficiency, and regular audits to ensure accurate and safe document management. We also recognise the need to allow Federations and CCG’s the opportunity to localise systems and this is built into our approach.

The standard process for introducing EZ Doc includes:

  • Understanding current practice identifying your complete document workflow process
  • Co-designing the new working model, with face-to-face workshops to develop a localised solution, based on the EZ Doc model
  • Training – web training includes an assessment to ensure staff proficiency and perpetual learning
  • Implementation – development of a guided strategy to ensure a sustained improvement and change, step by step
  • Audit – measuring the effectiveness and accuracy of the new document management process, periodically