NHS Digital has published data to inform users about GP appointments and help show how primary care is affected by seasonal variation.
Appointments in General Practice, October 2018 provides information on subjects such as:
- the number of surgery appointments, home visits, telephone and online consultations
- type of healthcare professional leading the appointment
- the number of appointments where a patient did not attend
- the time between an appointment being booked and taking place.
Monthly data will be available at Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) level, for GP practices using the TPP and EMIS systems1.
While this data will develop into a necessary resource to measure seasonal impact, this first publication consists of experimental statistics to reflect the variation in data quality between CCG’s as well as the ongoing development that will take place to the series, in consultation with users.
There are various measures that cannot be extrapolated from the report:
- as it shows information captured from GP systems, it cannot be used as an estimate of workload as these systems do not capture every activity that GPs carry out2
- there are also no measures of patient demand or the capacity within GP surgeries to meet that demand in this report
- the report is unable to capture factors relating to the demographics of an area, which can impact on the number of appointments required and therefore there is no way to infer if the level of appointments is appropriate
- appointments which occur outside the core opening hours of a practice are often not recorded on the GP system, and therefore the number of these appointments may appear to be lower in the report.
Read the full report
Notes to editors
- These systems account for approximately 95% of the systems in use in England. Therefore, where national figures are cited, these have been estimated to 100% using patient list numbers.
- Examples of non-captured activity include reviewing and actioning prescriptions, training, meetings, work to ensure statutory obligations are met, processing laboratory tests, and administration tasks. Many practices create blocks of appointments outside core surgery hours for telephone triage or home visits as a list for clinicians to work through during the day. As these appointments cannot be verified, they have not been counted as part of the dataset. Any appointment marked as available in a system, such as breaks, unused patient facing appointments, untimed appointments or those cancelled at late notice and not rebooked were also not counted as part of the data due to data quality issues.
- For more information on the limitations on this data, please read the accompanying supporting information document.
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