GP with a Special Interest (GPwSI) accreditation

A GP with a Special Interest (GPwSI) supplements their role as a generalist by providing an additional service while still working in the community Our GPwSI frameworks are designed to help practitioners and accreditors understand the knowledge and skills required.

Role of GPwSIs

GPwSIs can improve patient care in a number of important ways:

  • reduce costs and unnecessary secondary care referrals, helping divert referrals to a service provided by the GPwSI or extended scope practitioners
  • improve skills and facilitate more effective management of patients in primary care, using the GPwSI’s insight into general practice and their specialty to disseminate education and training
  • help improve clinical services for patients by reducing delays, improving access and keeping care closer to home
  • enhance patient care by managing a condition at a specialist level, but also take a holistic approach to co-existing multimorbidities

Interim arrangements for the accreditation of GPwSIs in England

Until the end of March 2013, Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) were responsible for the accreditation and re-accreditation of GPwSIs in England using the following 2007 guidance: Implementing care closer to home Convenient quality care for patients. Part 3: The Accreditation of GPs and Pharmacists with Special Interests [PDF].  

Current arrangements are described here and checklist template [PDF] to support the re-accreditation of GPwSIs is available. There is some regional variation in approach so we would advise GPs to check local arrangements with their Responsible Officer or local commissioning organisation (e.g. CCG). 

The RCGP is contributing to developing NHS England policy on governance processes for GPs with Extended Roles, and discussions are being informed by the findings of a pilot the College undertook in partnership with the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) in 2014-2015 to evaluate processes to support the assessment of GPs with extended scopes of practice in dermatology. 

The pilot report can be accessed here [PDF]. In the current time, we would advise all GPs to follow the generic 2007 guidance (see above) and any specialist framework that is available (see below) – but also check arrangements with their local Responsible Officer or commissioning organisation. 

About the GPwSI frameworks

GPs develop expertise in specific areas through a range of activities, including education, research, involvement with service development and management. Since April 2009, GPwSI have had to be accredited in line competency frameworks developed by the Department of Health, RCGP and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

The frameworks set out the competences, educational attainment, and service provision considered important for the commissioning of a GPwSI. The exact requirements will be determined by the commissioning body, drawing on the framework and taking into account the needs of the locality.

The frameworks:

  • help practitioners understand the extended knowledge and skills they will need to provide services as a GPwSI
  • help commissioners identify the competencies GPwSIs need to provide local services
  • help practitioners and commissioners understand the support and infrastructure required for different GPwSI services
  • provide insight into the best way of acquiring and maintaining GPwSI competencies

Frameworks for GPs and pharmacists

The following frameworks are suitable for both GPs and pharmacists with a special interest (collectively known as Practitioners with a Special Interest or PwSsI).

Frameworks for GPs only

The following frameworks are for GPwSIs only.

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If you have questions about the GPwSI frameworks, contact

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