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‘Further work required’ on practice-level appointments data out this week

‘Further work required’ on practice-level appointments data out this week

NHS Digital has apparently admitted that more work is needed ahead of the launch of practice-level GP appointment data this week, according to the BMA.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that plans to publish appointment data for each practice in England from this month would go ahead on 24 November.

The plans were originally put forward by former health secretary Dr Thérèse Coffey, but they were not axed by her successor Steve Barclay following a political reshuffle.

But the BMA said it has raised concerns about the ‘accuracy of the data and its potential use’ with NHS Digital, which it said has ‘agreed that further work is required’.

The latest GP Committee bulletin said: ‘GPC England has met with NHS Digital to discuss its plans to publish GPAD (GP appointments data), which will be published at the practice level on 24 November, in the form of an annexe to the current publication. 

‘We raised concerns about the accuracy of the data and its potential use, and NHS Digital agreed that further work is required.’

NHS Digital has informed the BMA that the publication will be ‘further updated’ for April 2023 to integrate the practice-level data into the report, rather than being released as an annexe, it added.

There will also be a ‘dashboard’ of appointment data at a practice level that will be available for integrated care boards (ICBs) to access, the bulletin said.

An NHS Digital spokesperson said: ‘We will begin publishing practice-level appointments data later this month, as set out by the Government in Our Plan for Patients.

‘The statistics in the Appointments in General Practice publication are classed as experimental, which means they continue to be developed.’

They added: ‘We have worked with representatives from the GP profession and will keep them updated as we further refine the statistics.’

It was revealed last month that the new ‘experimental’ data will be published as part of the monthly general practice appointments data and will include how many appointments each GP practice is offering and appointment waiting times.

At the time, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) also indicated that the ‘expectation’ set by Dr Coffey that GP practices offer non-urgent appointments to patients within two weeks, as well as same-day urgent appointments, also remains in place.

But the former health secretary previously indicated that the only repercussion for practices that do not meet the expectations would be the potential of patients switching GP.

NHS England has said that while it is ‘reasonable’ for patients to expect to see a GP within two weeks, delivering this is currently impossible.

September, the last month for which GP appointment data has been published, saw the highest proportion of GP appointments delivered face to face since before the pandemic, with under a third carried out remotely.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 22 November, 2022 1:29 pm

Every GP needs to think – that in a free system – where you are interacting with a patient is where you load their notes and spend 5-10 minutes to execute a task. No different to private practice, or a solicitor. That is not data that should be taken lightly, be not documented or taken for granted. Add on top – 15 minute slots. And they will have a national headache of backlog which is a true pictorial of what you do, and not all this cover-up you are complying with.
Wake up.

The Prime Minister 22 November, 2022 6:42 pm

Can this data be linked to the absurd variation in funding across the country-where GPs in deprived areas get f*** a** for working their bollo*** off while GPs working in commuter belt get an occasional flurry of SPIRE referrals and massive incomes and have never seen a drug addict or violent patient in their entire careers……………

Darren Tymens 23 November, 2022 8:46 am

The data will obviously be garbage and meaningless – but the point isn’t to produce information that is useful to practices, commissioners or patients. The point of the data is 1) to provide the media with another tool to beat us up with; 2) to make it look like we are failing alongside the rest of the NHS (even though we are the only part still functional); 3) to make it look like the government are coming down hard on us (distancing themselves from responsibility and making the problems caused by years of disinvestment appear to be ours rather than theirs).

Truth Finder 23 November, 2022 9:24 am

Just another tool to hammer us with. Maxed out. More hammering will just make things worse and get people leaving the profession.

David Jarvis 23 November, 2022 6:57 pm

If you keep hammering a nail it pops out the other side and stops holding everything together just leaves a hole and the nail flies off to freedom.

A Non 24 November, 2022 8:37 am

Responsible for everything, in control of nothing