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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.

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