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Shot in the arm for healthcare assistants

A resounding 82% of respondents voted yes to the question "Should HCAs administer the flu vaccine?" in the latest Working in Partnership Programme (WIPP) web poll. This overwhelming endorsement further fuels the debate on extending the HCA role in GP practices. By taking on many routine clinical tasks HCAs can free up much needed time for nurses and GPs, enabling them to be more effective in meeting the needs of their patients.

While HCAs have been a feature of hospital workforces for many years, capitalising on their integration into GP practices is a relatively new but rapidly growing trend. WIPP has been a pioneering force in this work and has developed a toolkit and range of resources to help and encourage the recruitment and training of HCAs.

One of the new resources is an essential guide on delegation and accountability, which has been downloaded over 1,500 times from the WIPP website since it was published on 13 March. This handy pocket-sized guide addresses some of the key issues regarding the delegation of tasks to HCAs and offers practical advice on training, supervision and accountability.

Paul Vaughan, HCA Initiative project lead comments: "I have been greatly encouraged by my conversations with healthcare assistants working in general practice and struck by their enthusiasm and commitment to learn. The HCA Toolkit and other resources we have developed build upon their experience to help spread good practice in the recruitment, development and integration of HCAs into the general practice workforce. I believe any practice without an HCA is definitely missing a key resource to assist with the delivery of high quality care."

Early guidance on the influenza and pneumoccocal vaccine is also now available on the WIPP website. All WIPP tools and resources are free of charge and can be accessed via