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Simplified NHS 111 call summary reports to be in place ‘by end of December’

A simplified version of the call summaries sent to practices following an NHS 111 call will be rolled out by the end of the year, following long-standing complaints by GPs that the current reports are far too long and complicated.

NHS England told Pulse that the new form of the post-event messages has been finalised, but warned that GP practices will have to take local action to ensure their computer systems can accommodate the new design.

The current design of the call summaries - which are sent to a practice each time a patient gets in touch with NHS 111 - have been the subject of fierce criticism from GPs, who say they are ‘drowning in irrelevant patient information’, with some reports being up to ten pages long.

NHS England announced in August that it was working on simplifying the reports, but this is the first time it has provided a timeframe for the revamp.

The new design has been agreed, and IT specialists are working on changes to the software prior to implementation, NHS England said.

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘A new presentation of the post-event message (PEM) has been agreed and the necessary changes are being made to the software to implement this. It will be completed before the end of December. Further enhancement and tailoring is permitted once GP systems become capable.’

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden backed the change, but said it was long overdue.

He said: ‘GPs have been drowning in irrelevant patient information. At times there have been 10 pages to read. It’s been dangerous because the really important bit could be buried. We were promised a solution in February last year.’

East Sussex LMC chair Dr Russell Brown also welcomed the change in principle but said a lot would depend on the new design. He said: ‘What we need from NHS 111 is some information on why the patient was seen and on the disposal. We don’t need to know about any of the rest.’