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General practice and national algorithm
Data is extracted from GP systems on a weekly basis by the GP IT suppliers and passed to NHS Digital via the GP Extraction Service (GPES). This process takes two days.
Once the GPES data is received, NHS Digital processes it, along with other national datasets, to create the weekly update to the Shielded Patient List (SPL). The list is then inspected through a quality assurance process to ensure it is ready for release. We aim for this process to take 2 days, with a day held in reserve.
When the data has passed quality assurance it is shared with the extremely vulnerable patients service where it is then uploaded. GP IT suppliers also receive a copy which used so that they can put electronic flags against patient records for those on the list.
We aim for the end to end process to take 7 days.
Hospitals submit daily additions and deductions through the SEFT process. NHS Digital processes these files weekly on a Monday and shares them, including making the updated list available to hospitals. The extremely vulnerable patients service processes these files the next day and the updated records are shared with GP systems on a weekly basis.
Below is how often we share the updated list.
Daily (address changes and deceased patients)
Government extremely vulnerable patients service (hospital data)
Spine (and then accessed via Summary Care Record application)
Government extremely vulnerable patients service (all data)
Local authorities (all data)
Letters, emails and SMS texts (patients identified nationally)
NHSE, CCGs and Arden & Gem Commissioning Support Unit
Detained Persons IT
NHS 111 Providers
Download an overview of the shielded patient list architecture.