This site is intended for health professionals only

BMA seeking clarification on NHS 111 direct booking into GP slots

The BMA is seeking ‘urgent clarification’ from NHS England after emergency coronavirus regulations regarding extended NHS 111 direct booking into practices lapsed.

In April, practices were asked to free up appointments for direct booking by NHS 111’s Covid-19 assessment service under emergency amendments to GP contractual regulations.

The requirement, effective until 30 June, mandated an extension of appointments available for NHS 111 direct booking from one appointment per 3,000 registered patients per day to at least one appointment per 500 patients per day.

However, the BMA’s GP Committee said it now is ‘in discussion’ with NHS England about arrangements for the rest of the year to ensure general practice is ‘prepared for a second wave’ or local outbreaks of coronavirus.

The latest GPC bulletin said: ‘The emergency regulations that related to general practice, which were part of the NHS response to the Covid-19 pandemic, lapsed on 1 July. 

‘We have been in discussion with NHSE/I about what the arrangements will be for the rest of the year as we are clearly a long way from the end of the pandemic and need to be prepared for a second wave or the impact of local outbreaks as we are already seeing.’

The GPC is ‘seeking urgent clarification of this so that practices can plan for the months ahead’, it added.

NHS England did not respond to queries about the future of the direct booking requirements.

Pulse voluntary donation scheme

Since the outbreak of this pandemic, Pulse has strived to support you, whether it be through our resources page, our ‘Clinical Crises’ series, holding policymakers to account with exclusives such as practices being supplied with faulty masks, or GPs being told to stop routine services in the hardest hit areas.

However, good journalism cannot be done on the cheap and, like the whole publishing industry, we have been affected by the economic slowdown. We also strongly believe the content we produce should remain free as we feel it is essential for you. Because of this, we have set up a voluntary donation scheme. There is no compulsion whatsoever to donate. But if you feel we are helping you, and you would like to support us, anything you can spare would be greatly appreciated. Read more here.

Donate here