Advanced Clinical Practitioners

What is an ACP?

Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACPs) are experienced healthcare practitioners who have acquired expert medical knowledge, complex decision-making and critical thinking skills and clinical competencies for expanded scope of practice across a broad patient spectrum. ACPs develop a significantly higher level of responsibility and autonomy to make professionally accountable decisions regarding patient's care. An ACP will usually take on a number of roles that have traditionally been the domain of doctors, including admission clerkings, formulation of differential diagnoses, prescribing medications and delivery of medical care (in an often unpredictable environment) from the point of patient referral to the time of discharge from AMU.

It is feasible that some ACPs will eventually become capable of working independently at a level commensurate with 'middle grade' doctors on the medical rota. However, our department firmly believes that ACPs should not be viewed as a cheaper substitute for doctors but rather, that their roles will overlap with and complement the traditional medical workforce; ACPs will help to address the current workforce crisis in urgent care and reduce reliance on costly locum doctors; as permanent members of our team, they have the potential to deliver more sustainable and standardized healthcare, to the benefit of doctors working alongside them on the medical rota, and more importantly, to our patients.

What qualifications does an ACP need?

A significant proportion of ACPs come from senior nursing backgrounds but suitably experienced allied healthcare professionals (e.g. Paramedics, Physiotherapists and Pharmacists) are also eligible to apply for ACP posts, provided they have worked at AfC Band 6 level for a minimum of 4 years. During a 2-year training programme on AMU, our trainee ACPs (tACPs) study modules on clinical examination skills, investigations and diagnostics at Warwick Medical School leading to the award of a PG Certificate in Advanced Clinical Practice for Healthcare Professionals. They are also supported in obtaining independent non-medical prescriber status and are subjected to a robust local process of standardized assessment before they are deemed competent to work as junior ACPs (jACPs) on our medical rota.

Before progressing to senior ACP (sACP) level, they must demonstrate expert competence in managing all common acute medical conditions (as defined by a purpose-built curriculum) and complete an MSc in Health Sciences (or equivalent) by selecting appropriate additional modules of study to add to their PG Certificate. Selected ACPs of the highest ability may eventually go on to lead certain aspects of our service.

What is the future for ACPs @ BHH?

Our first cohort of ACPs in Acute Medicine at Birmingham Heartlands are rapidly approaching the completion of their training period. It is expected that as their career progresses, our ACPs will take on more senior leadership roles in education, management, service development or research within the AMU. Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) recognizes that the development of ACP roles is a key component in tackling the current workforce challenges and meeting the demands of a changing healthcare landscape in high-pressure areas such as Acute Medicine. Recent agreement has been reached within our Trust to expand the ACP workforce at unprecedented pace and scale across multiple clinical areas and into the community. This is a truly exciting time for experienced nursing staff and other allied healthcare professionals looking to develop advanced clinical skills and to progress their future career with us in Acute Medicine at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital.

Our Team of ACPs

Robin Davies

Trainee ACP

Robin trained as a Nurse in North London and worked in a number of acute specialities including Coronary Care, Emergency Medicine, Cardio-Thoracic HDU and Intensive Care before becoming a Resuscitation Officer (RO) and eventually Senior RO at HEFT; this role involved clinical resuscitation work, teaching, research and quality assurance.

The opportunity to train as an ACP offered Robin the chance to shift focus towards a more clinical role; developing new knowledge and skills in order to contribute to high quality, safe and effective care for acutely ill medical patients. He hopes to be able to utilise his experience in quality assurance and clinical systems improvement to contribute further.

Robin’s spare time is mainly spent studying for an MSc in Advanced Practice and working on projects for the Resuscitation Council (UK) and the European Resuscitation Council. He has been part of the writing groups for the Resuscitation Council (UK) Guidelines in 2010 and 2015. He has written for peer reviewed journals and text books in resuscitation and holds an honorary title of Associate Research Fellow at Warwick Medical School.

Any time that is left over, Robin spends with his family, friends, in the gym or at his record decks.

Grainne Buggy

Trainee ACP

Before starting work at BHH as a Trainee ACP, Grainne used to be a nice girl...

ACP Documents

policies and guidelines

Acute Medicine ACP Programmedownload

Acute Medicine ACP Radiology Requesting Policydownload

Acute Medicine ACP Curriculumdownload

assessment forms

Assessment of Competence (AoC): Genericdownload

Direct Observation of Procedural / Practical Skills (DOPS)download

Assessment of Competence (AoC): Radiology Requestingdownload

Multiple Consultant Report (MCR)download

Acute Care Assessment Tool (ACAT-1)download

Acute Care Assessment Tool (ACAT-2)download

Patient Feedback Surveydownload

ACP Learning

CES Respiratory Systemdownload

CES Renal / Genitourinary Systemdownload

Additional learning resources relevant to ACPs are available here.