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Primary Care Workforce in Alternative Settings - General Practitioners in the Covid Clinical Assessment Service

Data Sources and Quality

The primary data set for these statistics was provided by South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit ( This data provided details of the GPs working for CCAS and the number of hours for which they were paid. We linked these records to other data held by NHS Digital, including the General Medical Council Register, the Electronic Staff Record and information relating to prescribing activity to better understand the nature of the CCAS GP workforce and to quantify – if possible – the scale of GPs returning to the workforce and the scale of existing NHS GPs who increased their working hours during the COVID-19 crisis.

Accuracy and Reliability

CCAS was operational from late March 2020 until May 2021, and this publication covers the period from its inception until the end of March 2021. The data provided to us presents the number of hours for which GPs were paid, according to the month in which the payment claims were processed.

Generally, the month of processing related to hours worked in the previous month, and this is what we have assumed when calculating quarterly figures. For example, we allocated working hours that were processed and paid in October 2020 to the July-September 2020 quarterly figures.

Because it was a new service and it took time to develop a reliable payroll system for CCAS, there were some delays to processing payments for hours worked in March and April, and some of these payments were therefore processed and paid more than a month in arrears. Figures for the April-June 2020 quarter also include hours worked in March 2020 as these were processed in May and could not be distinguished from April’s hours in the available data. However, as CCAS was launched late March 2020, the number of working hours included in the April-June 2020 quarterly figures is believed to be relatively low.

The data set includes retrospective adjustments, for example payments processed late or what appear to be negative hours worked, as adjustments were made for overpayments or incorrect hours in previous months; in such cases, it is not possible to be certain of the month for which the adjustment applies, so we have treated all adjustments – both positive and negative – as being applicable to the month before the processing took place.

The data set included some hours paid for sickness absence, which means the actual hours reported are slightly inflated; the scale of hours paid for sickness is not known.

Although all GPs were paid for the hours spent on mandatory training, the hours spent on training are not included in these figures.

In some cases, GPs appear to have worked extremely long hours in a particular month, sometimes seemingly with no worked hours in the previous month. It could be that in these instances, several months of their working hours have been processed together, resulting in the appearance they worked very long hours in the preceding month. It is not possible – using the data available – to confirm when each GPs’ hours were actually worked so they have been processed as though all hours were worked in the month immediately prior to processing. This means that there may be some unavoidable distortion to the quarterly working hours figures.

When considering the quality of the data, it is important to recognise that the systems created were not intended to produce data for statistical purposes. The systems and processes implemented were created for the specific purpose of delivering an emergency healthcare service and paying its workforce during a period of crisis. As a result, while the data set provides a valuable insight into the CCAS workforce, its suitability in understanding the detail and time series of the provision during the period of its operation is limited, and we are not able to provide a month-by-month breakdown. Since it is not possible to be confident about which hours were worked in which months, figures are presented on a quarterly basis. However, presenting these figures in a quarterly time series mean that peaks and troughs in the provision cannot easily be identified. For example, we know that demand for CCAS consultations varied in accordance with the infection rate, so would expect there to have been fewer appointments in August 2020 than at other points in the summer. However, this cannot be easily seen with the published quarterly data. Similarly, based upon the infection rate, we may have expected to see high hours of CCAS provision in January 2021 and lower demand for appointments as the year progressed; however, again such fluctuation cannot be discerned within the quarterly figures.

Data Coverage and Completeness

Figures are provided from the start of the service to the end of March 2021. It is anticipated that a further release of data covering the final months of the service will be available in due course.


We have provided information on the headcount of the workforce, i.e., the number of distinct and identifiable individuals, and also the full-time equivalence where full-time equivalent (FTE) is a standardised measure of the workload of an employed person and allows for the total workforce workload to be expressed in an equivalent number of full-time staff. 1.0 FTE equates to full-time work of 37.5 hours per week, an FTE of 0.5 would equate to 18.75 hours per week.

Timeliness and Punctuality

We publish our statistics as quickly as possible after the data extract.

Details of other scheduled publications are announced on our website at

Accessibility and Clarity

Figures are available at England-level only. Because this service was provided remotely, no regional analysis is available as both the GPs and their patients could have been anywhere in England.

Coherence and Comparability

This is the first time that information on GPs working in CCAS has been analysed and published and the figures released in this publication apply to the period March 2020 to March 2021. The service ceased operations in May 2021 and there may be an update to the figures to cover the final months of operation.

Some GPs working for CCAS were retired and were registered as Emergency Registered Practitioners by the General Medical Council to allow them to support the NHS during the COVID-19 crisis.  Some other GPs were working elsewhere in the NHS, in a general practice, hospital or community-based setting and worked additional or substituted for CCAS. Where this is the case, it has not been possible to determine which were additional hours and which were substituted hours, so there is a risk that some of these working hours may also have been reported in the General Practice or NHS Workforce statistics.

Assessment of User Needs and Perceptions

Comments and feedback are welcomed by email to or, or by telephone 0300 303 5678.

Performance Cost and Respondent Burden

We have tried to reduce the administrative burden by using the data set that related to processed payments.

Confidentiality, Transparency and Security

The standard NHS Digital data security and confidentiality policies have been applied in the production of these statistics. The data contained in this publication is Experimental Official Statistics. The Code of Practice for Statistics is adhered to throughout the publication cycle along with NHS Digital’s Statistical Governance Policy.

All publications are subject to a standard NHS Digital disclosure risk assessment prior to issue and statistical disclosure control was not necessary for this release.

Last edited: 16 June 2021 12:28 pm