GP Appointment Data (GPAD)
We are very aware that practices may well be concerned about the publication of the GP Appointment Data at practice level, that is, from 24th November 2022 onwards, to be made available to the public and hence the media.
Your LMC and the BMA are equally concerned about the fragility of this data and discussions are taking place about how this might be perceived.
A BMA press release published 24th November 2022 emphasises that the data makes alarming reading, in that although there are nearly 1900 fewer full time fully qualified GPs since September 2015, the number of face-to-face appointments is going up and many GPs are also continuing to offer remote consultations to make sure patients can still get the care they need, in a way that suits them.
They go on to say “These figures, which show the highest level of GP appointments on record, demonstrate how busy practices are, especially on top of the dramatic increase in seasonal vaccination appointments – but there’s a limit to what general practice can safely deliver with such a depleted workforce. There is variation between practices in the data released, with many factors giving rise to such, including local demographics and patient choice. The BMA say “None of these nuances are taken into account in today’s data and rather than this being a useful tool to aid patient choice, it is really no more than a way to ‘name and shame’ practices when the morale of dedicated staff is at rock bottom. “Ultimately, such data should be used to support, not punish practices”
The BMA raised concerns about the accuracy of the data, and its potential use, and NHS Digital agreed that further work is required.
Practices may wish to take a look in advance at the data for their practice, for awareness of what they may be asked about. This can be done via smartcard access – details can be found at GP Appointments Data Dashboard - NHS Digital
Practices may wish to have a statement prepared in advance in case you are challenged in any way on the data published for your practice.
Here are some pointers to consider including but not limited to: -
- Reflect on any positives in your data at a time when the NHS is facing unprecedented backlogs
- It might be useful to include any positive scores from the national GP Survey 2022 for your practice.
- The data looks at numbers per 1000 patients, use the numbers that convey the positives and demonstrate the difficulties.
|You might like to consider using the checklist we produced to gather practice access data information for CQC.|
- Total appointments
- Face to face appointments
- Appointments booked to GP
- Registered patients (is your practice over the record high average of 9,596 patients registered per practice)
- What is the number of patients vs responsible GPs in your practice – remember to equate this to FTE. (The BMA state the average number of patients each full-time equivalent GP is responsible for has now reached 2,248)
- DNA appointments – this number can convey a strong message – please ask patients to let the practice know if they wish to cancel so the appointment can be used by someone else.
- Appointments booked to GP
- Appointments on the same day
- Time to booked appointment – it needs to be understood that booking to appointment may well be over 2 weeks if a clinician has asked a patient specifically to come back in 4 weeks to review. The patient books that 4 week appointment in advance whilst at the surgery. However, we understand that in some areas it is anticipated the average TBA (time to booked appointment) will be around 82% within 2 weeks.
- We believe this is exceptional when considering how far wide of “targets” the rest of the NHS currently functioning at. Perhaps the headlines should read something like “General Practice flying in the face of NHS pressures by providing good access AND Covid vaccinations” – just an idea.
- It is strongly recommended that the practice look at their “Time to Booked” appointment for awareness and also at your region average, celebrate with a positive message if you are equal to or above the average. You may like to check your appointment categories.
- Point out that the data does not reflect the indirect workload –
|You might wish to use the iceberg graphic to help demonstrate this – it can be found with other resources on our webpage|
- e.g., clinicians logging in from home in the evenings to catch up on workload,
- indirect patient contact with repeat prescriptions,
- clinical audits,
- LTC reviews,
- queries and tasks from colleagues in the community and secondary care,
- sensitivity checking records for SARS/redactions
- and the list goes on…
- Does your practice have any unfulfilled vacancies
- have you had problems recruiting
- are your GPs working over and above BMA recommended safe working limits already.
- Detail any good news or positive that the practice can highlight
- For context, the practice might like to keep and have available if needed, the full BMA statement on workforce targets.
- Directly bookable appointments – guidance for practices