Developing a Sustainable Admin Workforce for General Practices




Among the challenges faced by many member practices coming out of the pandemic was recruitment and retention of well-trained administrative staff.

This pressure was felt most keenly by practices in the east of Haringey where gaps in the workforce meant practices were potentially most at risk from the additional traditional winter pressure faced by general practice and primary care.

NHS logo on a laptop

In late 2021, the Federation was invited to develop a model for admin recruitment, training and placement focussing on the east Haringey PCNs (N15, North East and Welbourne). Candidates with no previous experience in primary care were selected for a rolling programme of training and development. Recruiting from outside of primary care mitigated against the risk of ‘poaching’ staff from other practices and so ensured a net gain to the target workforce cohort.

A four-week intensive training programme at a training practice provided the core skills needed in practice reception and administration, triage and redirection to other services when relevant. With additional support such as mentoring candidates began six-month placements in practices from January 2022. The aim was that practices gain well-trained admin staff who are able to make an immediate contribution in their new working environments. The additional intent is that following the six-month placement, candidates will be retained by participating practices having demonstrated the capabilities and skills needed to support a permanent position within their practices.

This project has successfully boosted the primary care admin workforce in Haringey. By March 2022, 22 administrators had been recruited over five cohorts with the first commencing in January 2022. By taking on the heavy lifting of recruitment and training, it has removed a potential barrier faced by busy practice admin and reception staff, enabled them to stay focussed on meeting high patient demand while benefitting from the additional capacity provided by the project.

Published: Jun 8, 2022