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Independents' Day

GP bureaucracy that was ‘poor use of time’ should not be reinstated, says NHSE

NHS England is beginning a review into GP bureaucracy, saying that any tasks that were ‘not a good use of time’ should not be reinstated after the pandemic. 

Director of primary care Ed Waller told GPs in Thursday’s live webinar that NHS England is looking at ‘what we can get rid of to everyone’s benefit’.

He said that would feed into the review of GP bureaucracy that was promised in the 2020/21 GP contract agreement.

Mr Waller said: ‘The bureaucracy review that we promised to run in February is just beginning to start its work.

‘We want to get together some groups of GPs, practice managers and other staff to hear directly from you what is the bureaucracy we’re talking about, how can we make things more flexible in a useful way and what is the balance between what’s necessary and some of the contractual and legal frameworks and what we can get rid of to everyone’s benefit.’

And deputy director of primary care contracts Gabi Darby added that NHS England must ‘avoid’ restoring things that are ‘not a good use of time’ to ‘make space’ for extra activity.

She said: 'Primary care has started offering more proactive care both to care home patients and those who are shielding given their particular vulnerability. 

'Therefore existing workloads have had to be re-prioritised and one impact of that we know is a growing backlog of need particularly around chronic condition management and prevention.'

She added: 'We need to get back to doing those high-value things that were de-prioritised due to the immediate response and we need to try and avoid reinstating things that weren’t a good use of time before the response in order to make space for the extra activity that will continue.’

Finding a ‘balance’ of maintaining positive innovations and transformation from the pandemic will be another ‘challenge’ of the recovery period, Ms Darby added.

Meanwhile, NHS England has set up a cross-sector network to engage with NHS staff and stakeholders over its recovery plan.

NHS England director of clinical improvement and ‘beneficial changes’ network lead Dawn Chamberlain told GPs that the reduction in bureaucracy is a ‘key theme’ that has so far come through from ‘all sectors’.

Last week, the BMA warned that the Government must ‘reflect very carefully’ before reintroducing GP bureaucracy, as its latest tracker survey revealed that over half of GPs feel relieved by the temporary easing during the pandemic. 

And last month, the RCGP also hailed the 'dramatic reduction in administrative tasks' and called for GP bureaucracy not to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, the news that the CQC will restart routine inspections from the autumn caused an outcry among GPs this week, with the BMA and RCGP condemning the move.

Professor Clare Gerada today wrote to the CQC to request it delays GP inspections for at least another year to protect GP mental health.

Earlier this month, the GMC announced it was deferring all GP revalidation this year.

Readers' comments (35)

  • Well that's 50% of a Partner's job gone. Could NHS England be clear about what this includes - specific reference to CQC and Revalidation would be appreciated.

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  • Vinci Ho

    All I would say is
    (1) The old model has evidently failed. Full stop .
    (2) Time is a vital resource in general practice in NHS : hence , cut the red tape allowing more flexibilities is the way forward .
    (3) Not hold my breath until some practical and concrete changes are in place . Otherwise, old habit is hard to rid as far as technocrats are concerned.

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  • Don't hold your breath. CQC and appraisal are here to stay. I wouldn't bank on anyone with the job title "beneficial changes’ network lead" making good decisions on what bureaucratic activities to axe. It is like an episode of the fabulous comedy "W1".

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  • this is an important opportunity to press the 'reset' button in general practice. for my analysis of the sources of red tape see here:

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  • here is the link

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  • Kafka would be guffawing into his coffee.

    Mark my words : there'll be "committees" set up to "research the evidence", to "generate solutions going forwards" and it will either be kicked into the long grass or actually conclude that MORE nugatory shite activity and bureaucracy is required.

    A bureaucracy that votes for its own demise?

    Like unicorn droppings: heard of it. Never seen it.

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  • 'Beneficial changes network lead'????
    NHSE are so self absorbed that they seem blissfully unaware of their role in massively increasing bureaucracy for most with their litany of unnecessary tasks: see DES contract requirements; see checking in on all NH as belated COVID response; see shielding performance. Without mass non co-operation in CQC inspections, appraisals etc the likelihood that these are going to disappear is vanishingly small.

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  • Let's just allow ourselves to dream for a moment:
    End (or radically simplify) appraisal and/or revalidation.
    End QOF.
    End CQC.
    End PCNs, and put the money into the core contract so we can stop the endless pointless meetings and bickering - and employ the staff we need and not the staff you tell us we can have.
    The NHS to contract properly and fairly with practices - both the core contract and any other work you want us to take on, like care homes.
    The RCGP to take a long hard look at itself - what value does it really bring to the 98% of the profession it doesn't actually engage with, for the huge sums of money it rakes in every year?

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  • There is never any accountability. Have any heads rolled for the creation of bureaucracy that was a "poor use of time"?

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