GP practices General practitioner Practice manager England

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Specific training requests for clinical staff

GP practices may encounter demands from commissioners or practice inspectors that members of the practice, including GPs, are required to undertake mandatory or statutory training in a number of specific areas.

In some cases, what is described as mandatory or statutory training may not actually be the case. To help practices identify what training is required the following information should help.

Topic Comment




Taking samples for the cervical screening programme



It is good practice to ensure that practices are aware of guidance on training in cervical smear taking, and CCGs may wish to monitor the quality of cytology services and take action if this reveals evidence of any shortcomings in quality.

There are, however, no contractual grounds for requiring GPs to undertake update training, unless this is expressly agreed as part of local PMS or APMS contractual arrangements.

The NHS Cervical Screening Programme recommends that all practitioners taking cervical smear samples should undertake a minimum of a half day training programme every three years to ensure they are up to date with both the programme and the method of smear taking





There are no mandatory requirements for performing spirometry.

Some practitioners who perform or interpret diagnostic spirometry in general practice may choose to be on the National Register.

This demonstrates they have achieved the standard of practice set out by the Association for Respiratory Technology and Physiology (ARTP).

CQC expects practices to be able to demonstrate that all staff who perform spirometry tests or interpret results are competent.

They can demonstrate this if the relevant staff members are on the National Register, but may choose to present other evidence.




Administering vaccines

Practices could be asked by CQC to demonstrate training for clinical staff linked to their specific clinical responsibilities.

For nursing staff, for example, this could be taking samples for the cervical screening programme, administering vaccines and for extended roles in treating minor illness and long-term conditions.

It is for the practice to determine how they demonstrate that their staff have the necessary skills to perform the activities asked of them.




Minor surgery

Minor surgery is defined in the GP contract as 'curettage and cautery and, in relation to warts, verrucae and other skin lesions, cryocautery'.

There are no mandatory training requirements for performing minor surgery. It is up to the practice to determine the training required to meet the needs of their patients.

RCGPLearning provides minor surgery courses and the RCGP minor surgery page has links to NICE and NHS published guidance for the management of skin cancer and for the different levels of skills required.



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Please note: The above list is not exhaustive and will be added to as and when new information is received.

If you receive notification that training in a particular area (or a specific training course) is required, please get in touch with BMA staff who will be happy to clarify your training obligations.

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