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Publication, Part of

Appointments in General Practice - March 2020

Official statistics, Experimental statistics


The aim of the publication is to inform users about activity and usage of GP appointments historically and how primary care is impacted by seasonal pressures, such as winter.

NHS Digital publishes this information to support winter preparedness and provide information about some activity within primary care. The publication covers historic appointments, marked as attended or did not attend, from national to CCG coverage. The aim is to inform users, who range from a healthcare professional to an inquiring citizen, about appointments within primary care.

The publication includes data from participating practices using EMIS, TPP, MICROTEST and VISION GP systems.

NHS Digital produce this information monthly, containing information about the most recent month and previous months.

The publication includes important information, however it does not show the totality of GP activity/workload. The data presented only contains information which was captured on the GP practice systems. This limits the activity reported on and does not represent all work happening within a primary care setting or assess the complexity of activity.

No patient identifiable information has been collected or is included in this release.

March 2020: Impact of Coronavirus

There are no national standards for data entry into GP systems which are not primarily designed for data analysis purposes. The outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has led to unprecedented changes in the work and behaviour of General Practices and subsequently the GP appointments data within this publication. The variation in approach to appointment management between practices is likely to be greater than usual during the Coronavirus outbreak and as a result data quality will be impacted. These quality issues impose limitations on what can be inferred from this data and as such they should continue to be considered as experimental statistics. Please see the 'Appointments in General Practice - March 2020: Summary' document below for further information.

Number of Appointments

25 million appointments are estimated to have happened in March 2020.

Same Day Appointments

45% of appointments in March 2020 happened on the same day that they were booked.

Of these same day appointments, 94% were recorded as 'attended' compared to 86% of appointments overall.

Telephone Appointments

28% of appointments in March 2020 were conducted via telephone.

This is an increase compared to February 2020 where 14% of appointments occurred via telephone.

Impact of Coronavirus

The outbreak of Coronavirus has impacted the quality of the GP appointments data.

See the 'Appointments in General Practice - March 2020: Summary' document below for further information.


NHS Digital regularly solicit feedback for users of its publications which are experimental statistics to help further development.

Feedback can be provided using this link

Last edited: 24 May 2021 5:10 pm