This site is intended for health professionals only

GPs to use artificial intelligence to help manage elective care waiting list

GPs to use artificial intelligence to help manage elective care waiting list

The Government has said that artificial intelligence (AI) in GP practices will help manage patients in the elective care backlog.

It today announced that new technology and innovation will allow the NHS to treat 30% more elective care patients by 2023/24.

It added that NHS ‘come forward with a delivery plan for tackling the backlog’.

In March, NHS England suggested that GPs could be asked to review hospital waiting lists for elective care to help prioritise and manage patients from the following month.

Details were limited, but NHS England later told GPs that they must ‘jointly manage’ patients stuck in the backlog of care caused by the Covid pandemic with hospitals.

Meanwhile, Pulse revealed in June that NHSX and NHS England were considering the viability of a wider roll out of an artificial intelligence triage model based on that used by Babylon.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) today said that the Government’s new pandemic recovery plan, backed by £36bn over the next three years, will see waiting lists reduced by technology such as virtual wards, local surgical hubs and AI.

It added that GP practices will use AI technology to ‘prioritise patients’ and support those on waiting lists.

It said: ‘GP surgeries are using artificial intelligence to help prioritise patients most in need and identify the right level of care and support needed for patients on waiting lists.’ 

In May, NHS England announced a three-month ‘accelerator’ programme backed by £160m to pilot measures for tackling waiting lists, including using AI to prioritise patients in GP practices.

Meanwhile, an AI triage tool developed by online GP consultation provider eConsult was awarded NHS funding to be trialled across practices before ‘before potentially being adopted across the health service’ in the same month.

Concerns have previously been raised around the safety of triage apps, including by the CQC and a doctor who was labelled a ‘troll’ by Babylon after he tested its AI app and reported the results on social media.

More to follow



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

Iain Chalmers 9 September, 2021 1:51 pm

Bound to work.

Seem to recall once to err is human but it takes a computer to really screw things up.

I’ll believe it when I see it and heads up for NHS E et al as heard Covid rates increasing significantly with elective surgery postponed again & staff re-deployed

Talvinder Ghag 9 September, 2021 2:55 pm

How does it help – the problem is the same?

Nicholas Sharvill 9 September, 2021 3:13 pm

See latest BMJ about how so far AI has not been shown to be better in things like mammogram reporting despite the hype and publicity.
It may re shuffle the queue and some waiting will have died off which does not need AI to work out

Paul Attwood 9 September, 2021 3:13 pm

Baffled. This is not a GP issue. Elective Care waiting list is a Secondary Care issue.

There. No AI needed. Money MUCH better spent on £270k consultants.

David Jarvis 9 September, 2021 3:44 pm

As above. We get the shit for the secondary care waiting list. But is not our waiting list. We have referred for an expert opinion. GP is not the expert. Not my circus not my monkeys.

Some" Bloke 9 September, 2021 3:45 pm

“The Government has said that artificial intelligence (AI) in GP practices will help manage patients in the elective care backlog.”
I say, Government to use artificial intelligence (AI) to add any I to their strategies

Simon Ruffle 9 September, 2021 3:46 pm

Fixed it:
Hospitals to use artificial intelligence to help manage elective care waiting list

James MacHugh 9 September, 2021 3:46 pm

Absolutely right – Why lump their generated work on GP’s when it should be up to secondary care to manage this. If the NHS (particularly secondary care) shed most of the managers, then there would be a huge tranche of funding for clinicians to sort out the backlog by seeing patients instead of trying to “manage” the problem

Dr N 9 September, 2021 3:54 pm

NHSE lack intelligence of any kind

Douglas Callow 9 September, 2021 5:25 pm

I think not…..

Iain Chalmers 9 September, 2021 5:32 pm

Further thought bet Mr Hancock company has a “world beating” integrated off the shelf system that work with any IT platform to do that??

Off to have more fun poking my eyes out with a hot fag!!

PS please bring back Virginia Bottomley or Ken Clarke, it was so much nicer then?!

Douglas Callow 9 September, 2021 5:39 pm

ken Clarke started it all off though Rumour is he had several GP and consultant acquaintances who boasted about 1/2 days on the golf course and what they could get away with Back in those days if the CMO coughed or sneezed the health minister would visit the department and offer them a hanky ! Respect and deference remember them…

Turn out The Lights 9 September, 2021 7:10 pm

Putting GPS sorting out the back log with AI give a human scapegoat us for the failings of the politicians or the AI.Can’t wait for a paitient to ask me why their referral has been refused and my answer will be “computer says no” with the voice of course.

Sam Tapsell 9 September, 2021 9:50 pm

I need to start selling an AI solution, authenticated with blockchain technology, perhaps running on quantum computing, and enhanced with genomic heuristics. Sad seeing the exploitation of NHS England by these opportunists.

Perhaps the telegraph campaigning against econsult are actually on our side…

Patrufini Duffy 10 September, 2021 8:02 am

Trying to learn still why well baby clinics are closed and what on earth is a dumb asthma questionnaire. Ain’t cut one ounce of burecracy.

Patrufini Duffy 10 September, 2021 1:45 pm

GPs to be given artificial intelligence, as this is mind numbing? Bloated niggles.

Keith M Laycock 10 September, 2021 5:18 pm

Artificial intelligence? Isn’t that what ‘They’ have been using since day 1 and a pre-requisite for the job?

Look where it’s got them.

Patrufini Duffy 10 September, 2021 5:35 pm

You’re know Hancock is back, when you start hearing all this tech malarky. Mates rates.

Karen Potterton 13 September, 2021 5:31 pm

I have been doing my job to reduce 2ndary care backlog for 25 years by using RI (real intelligence) RE (real experience) and CNS (clinical negotiation skills) to keep my referral rate down and dealing with 95% of incoming problems myself. Let secondary care shovel their own shit. They should have been looking through and prioritising referrals on receipt when they were shut down and we were manning covid hot assessment centres and trying to do our jobs over the phone.

Hot Felon 14 September, 2021 1:19 pm

I have taken a determined stance to increase my referrals using SB (sheer boredom), PD (plain disinterest), FF (for fun), and NEBTD (nothing else better to do).
While flicking through FM (Facebook marketplace).

Simon Taylor 14 September, 2021 1:39 pm

Will it come with the “Gangbusters, World beating NHSE SNAFUBAR App ?”

Paul Cundy 14 September, 2021 5:40 pm

Dear All,
What about cheap intelligence? £160 million = 16,000 hip operations. Do I need to explain the logic? E-consult has turned out to be a disaster and is now being turned off in its droves, entirely as some predicted. Managing a waiting list the size of the NHS cannot possibly be properly and independently evaluated within months of a pilot, more likely years. They are all just deluded fantasists.
Paul C

Michael Crow 15 September, 2021 5:16 pm

You can take a horse to water…………..