Assistant and advanced practitioners

Health Education North West has supported the development of assistant and associate practitioner roles since 2002 and advanced practitioner roles since 2005, as part of a wider programme of workforce modernisation.

There are now more than 1,200 qualified assistant practitioners in the North West and a further 750 in training. Assistant practitioners work at level four of the career framework; the role being developed based on service need.

Trainee assistant  practitioners (TAPs) develop knowledge and skills beyond that of traditional support staff through a foundation degree programme and work-based learning supported by practice.

The role of advanced practitioner is defined in a North West concordat, produced in partnership with trusts and universities. It is described as clinical, autonomous and multi-disciplinary. The role has been accessed by a range of experienced registered healthcare professionals, including allied health professionals (AHPs).

Currently there are about 260 advanced practitioners across the region, sponsored by Health Education North West, and a further 140 in training.

Eight universities are commissioned to provide an MSc Advanced Practice in Health and Social Care. The programme’s core content includes clinical assessment and diagnostics, evidence based practice and leadership. There is a strong focus on work based learning to reflect the clinical nature of the role and its application in a specific area of service.

September 2015 Commissioning process 

 This year services within an NHS organisation, or a not-for-profit organisation providing NHS care, just need to do four things:

 1.       Provide a few simple details and sign up to the usual protocols by completing an Expression of Interest form

 2.       Return it to one university of your organisation’s choice

 Following this your application will be considered for funding. If you are successful you will then need to:

 3.       Engage with the university (and/or the WBEF Network in the case of Assistant Practitioners) regarding recruitment of trainees

 4.       Complete the Confirmation of Support Form for all those successful and return it to
at least four weeks prior to the start of the programme

 The funding protocols and principles of supporting these roles remain unchanged – it is merely the process that has been updated – therefore please remember that we only welcome Expressions of Interest from organisations that have completed all the necessary development work for these roles, for example:

 ·         Completed a job description and person spec

 ·         Confirmed HR arrangements for successful candidates

 ·         Guaranteed the availability of an appropriately banded/graded post upon qualification

 This year we are particularly welcoming applications from primary care, integrated/community care and urgent/emergency care services. Case studies detailing how Assistant and Advanced Practitioners are already working in some of these areas are available here. Roles working within specific pathways e.g. mental health, LD etc. will be prioritised according to the service type above.

 You can submit an Expression of Interest form now to the contact details on the form. You can download the form from our website at

 We recommend that you return the form as soon as possible as places may be offered on a first come first served basis if demand exceeds capacity. Universities may have their own recruitment deadlines which you can discuss with them directly.

 Should you have any questions about the role of Assistant/Associate or Advanced Practitioners,  the education programmes or interview processes please contact the relevant university or look here for more information.

 As always, please bear in mind that your organisation may wish to co-ordinate the development of these roles, therefore remember to discuss your training and development requirements with the appropriate department.  



Related documents

» North West Concordat Advanced Practice.pdf