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What this publication can tell you
The following information is presented at clinical commissioning group (CCG) level to track activity levels for appointments that have already happened, as recorded in participating practices in England:
activity levels for appointments that have already taken place
number of appointments by the date the appointment was scheduled to happen
number of appointments marked as 'DNA' (did not attend)
the health care professional type of the person seeing the patient
the setting of the appointments (face to face, over the phone, etc)
the time elapsed from when the appointment was booked until when it was scheduled to happen
What this publication cannot tell you
Appointments with patients are one part of the workload of a GP, which will typically also include many other tasks such as paperwork, meetings and liaising with other health care professionals. Not all GP activity is presented in this publication as only appointment time captured in the practice system is collected.
The number of appointments required can vary based on the needs of patients driven by a number of uncaptured factors. For example, the age distribution in an area or the prevalence of long-term illnesses.
This information does not give a complete view of GP activity so should not be used to infer a view of workload.
No information on the demand (the volume of people attempting to book appointments) is presented in this release.
No information is included on capacity (the proportion of available appointments that are used) of appointments in general practice.
This publication does not include any information on appointments marked as ‘available’. These may include:
unused patient facing appointments
appointments which were cancelled by patients at short notice and not rebooked to another patient
any appointment or activity not recorded in the practice appointment system
GP Appointments Data Quality Improvements - Technical Guidance
NHS England and NHS Improvement issued more accurate general practice appointment data – guidance in August 2020 to ensure all appointments are being recorded in general practice appointment books, and to fully capture the scale of work and workload in general practice. This document introduced an agreed definition of an appointment, and asked general practice to start applying this systematically, as an important first step to improving data quality.
Technical system specific advice and guidance to support practices with configuring appointment books is available below. If you have any queries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.