What is primary care?
Primary care is usually the first place that a person goes to for health advice and treatment outside of a hospital. Primary care services are based in the community and include General Practice (GP), Pharmacy, Dentistry and Optometry (optician services).
Primary care plays a crucial role in coordinating and managing a patient's healthcare, and they often serve as a gateway to other specialised healthcare services when needed.
There are over 350 careers in the health and care sector – within primary care there is a wide range of both clinical and non-clinical roles. Clinical roles involve providing care directly to patients, whereas non-clinical do not provide care directly to patients but are vital for the function and running of the organisation.
Below we have included some entry level roles which can be found in a primary care setting. Entry level roles do not require any specific qualification or previous experience. These roles are a great way for person to start a career in the health and care sector.
Examples of entry level roles in primary care:
Admin roles are usually the first point of contact between the patient and the general practice and therefore have to be well-organised and keep detailed records of patients and staff. Patients and other organisations need to be able to contact the NHS, to see or speak to the right person who can give them the help they need. In relation to this, the role of an administrator could be booking an appointment, getting advice or paying an invoice.
Examples of Admin jobs include:
Health care assistants (HCA), sometimes also referred to as health care support workers, can be a stepping stone into many other NHS roles.
The role of a health care assistant can vary depending on the setting - in general practice, tasks include carrying out new patient health checks; supporting practice nurses with health promotion programmes; carrying out basic observations such as pulse oximetry, blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate; undertaking wound care and dressings; facilitating BP monitoring; undertaking BMI checks and more.
Health Care Assistants work alongside and under the supervision and guidance of other healthcare professionals such as a nursing associate or registered nurse.
Pharmacy assistants support pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to order, prepare and dispense medicines. Pharmacy assistants work directly with patients and answer questions face to face or over the telephone. This role will also ensure the pharmacy is stocked by ordering items and managing the delivery.
There are no set entry requirements to become a pharmacy assistant - employers usually look for candidates with good literacy, numeracy, IT skills and excellent communication skills.
Trainee Nursing Associate
Nursing associate work within the wider nursing team - the role bridges the gap between Healthcare Assistants and Registered Nurses.
The most popular way to train as a nursing associate is to complete an apprenticeship called the Trainee Nursing Associate - this is a two year full time programme which delivers learning and hands on experience in the workplace in a range of settings, supported by learning within the classroom.
The video below provides an overview of the opportunity to become a nursing associate through the trainee nursing associate apprenticeship. https://youtu.be/PlAQ40dONAw
Optical assistants offer professional advice on which type of spectacle frames and lenses are suitable for the patient's lifestyle. As an optical assistant, you'll work in optometrists' offices, helping doctors and technicians provide vision care to patients. While many optical assistants work in private practices, you might also find employment in a healthcare clinic or retail environment.
Only optical assistants are qualified to fit children or anyone registered as sight impaired with their spectacle frames and lenses. All registered optical assistants must undergo a minimum of 3 years academic and practical training to qualify. They also must be a registered with the GOC to practise in the UK.
Are you interested in finding out more about possible roles within primary are or more widely in the health and social care sector?
Please visit and fill out the survey below to register your interest in the health and social care academy and one of our academy team members will get in touch with you. NCL Health and Social care Academy - Proud to Care (proudtocarenorthlondon.org.uk)
Want to learn more about the possible roles and career pathways available in the sector?
Press the button below to access our career pathway tool which provides information on career pathways and roles available in health and social care: