Version 3, 29 June 2023

The landscape of daily work in general practice has fundamentally changed following the rapid scale-up of the use of digital technologies for remote triage and consulting during the COVID-19 pandemic ((Greenhalgh T, Shaw S, Alvarez Nishio A and others, 2022; Murphy M, Scott LJ, Salisbury C and others, 2021; Royal College of General Practitioners, 2021). These technologies are now embedded in practice and policy at local and national levels (NHS England, 2023; NHS England, 2023; Department of Health and Social Care, 2020). The use of digital tools is a central component in the new Model of General Practice Access outlined  in the Delivery Plan for Recovery Access to Primary Care (NHS England, 2023). This research indicates that the widescale use of digital tools to support access and care in general practice is associated with new skills, and therefore new training needs for staff. Currently, this need is not being fully met, meaning some staff lack confidence in carrying out tasks associated with these new ways of working. The results of the quantitative and qualitative phases of this project suggest there is a strong incentive and staff buy-in for training in these areas.

Across staff groups, there was consensus on the central barriers to training and preferences in modes of training delivery. Barriers included high workload, lack of protected time, and a time clash between training and other professional activities. The most commonly chosen modes of delivery across groups were:

  • live webinars
  • eLearning modules
  • face-to-face training

In general, respondents found training useful when it was practical, with real-life examples, tailored to their role and practice, with different avenues for additional information. This was supported by qualitative findings that peer-learning from more senior colleagues was seen to be particularly valuable, which is positive considering survey responses demonstrated high levels of supervision and peer learning involved in different staff roles.