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NHS England’s flagship GP time-saving scheme frees up ‘120,000 clinical hours’



Exclusive A flagship programme to relieve pressured GP practices has so far freed up 121,000 hours of clinical time, NHS England has claimed.

It said the ‘Time for Care’ scheme, launched with the 2016 GP Forward View rescue plan, had further released over 192,000 hours of administrative time.

The programme, which has been implemented in over a thousand practices, includes offering phone and online consultations, cutting DNAs, improving GPs’ ‘personal productivity’, partnership working and social prescribing among other areas.

However GP leaders were cautious about the findings, saying feedback on the scheme’s success has been ‘variable at best’.

Time for Care programme in numbers

CCGs which have implemented the programme: 178

Practices participating: 1,008

Clinical hours saved: 120,903

Administrative time saved: 192,463

Source: NHS England, figures spanning April 2016-July 2018

Pulse previously reported that the scheme, which pledged to free up around 10% of GPs’ time through ten ‘high-impact actions’, was given a fund worth £30m – of which £8m was spent in its first year

Time for Care Programme lead Alison Tongue presented the new data at the NHS England’s Health and Care Innovation Expo last month.

She said: ‘As well as becoming more efficient, we also bring GPs together as groups of practices during the process and they work more collaboratively, which is often new for some practices to step outside of their own practice and work with others.’

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said that ‘it would logically fall that where investment has been made and care redesigned general practice has benefitted’. But he added that the scheme would ‘require time, funding and support to really make a difference’.

He said: ‘Our own members tell us that success has been variable at best, with more than half of LMCs surveyed this year saying they had not seen any improvement since the launch of the programme.’

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘We have a rigorous quality assurance process which verifies the practice identified amount of clinical time for GPs and nurses, as well as administrative time, released by the Time for Care programme.’

Note: This article was updated at 11.30 on 11 October to reflect NHS England’s clarification that 120,000 clinical hours saved relates to GPs and other practice clinicians.

NHS England’s 10 High Impact Actions

  1. Active signposting – online portal and reception navigation
  2. New consultation types – telephone, e-consultations, text message, group consultations
  3. Reduce DNAs – easy cancellation, reminders, patient recording, read-back, reporting attendances, reduce ‘just in case’
  4. Develop the team – advanced nurse practitioner, physician associates, pharmacists, medical assistants, paramedics, therapists
  5. Productive work flows – matching capacity and demand, efficient processes, productive environment
  6. Personal productivity – personal resilience, computer confidence, speed reading, touch typing
  7. Partnership working – productive federation, community pharmacy, specialists, community services
  8. Social prescribing – practice based navigators, external service
  9. Support self care – Prevention, acute episodes, long term conditions
  10. Develop QI expertise – leadership of change, process improvement, rapid cycle management, measurement

Source: NHS England’s GP Forward View