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It includes information such as the number of appointments, the number which were attended or not and the time between booking and appointment date3.
The report published today also contains three new measures:
Figures on the duration of consultations, in minutes. This field is recorded differently depending on the practice’s system supplier, which leads to variations in data quality that NHS Digital is continuing to address with system suppliers and practices
Further detail on the context of the activity, such as whether it was an appointment involving the patient directly or clinical activities on behalf of the patient. There is also a further breakdown into the category of the activity, such as routine general consultation, planned clinic or home visit
More detail on the healthcare professional leading appointments, broken down to roles including GPs, nurses and staff providing other direct patient care
Experimental Statistics are series of statistics that are in the testing phase and not yet fully developed for several reasons such as poor coverage or data quality or if the data is still undergoing evaluation.
The GP appointment booking systems from which this data is taken are not primarily designed for data analysis purposes. Guidance has recently been issued to increase the standardisation of data entry in these systems, however substantial variation and data quality issues remain. 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. The guidance can be found here
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.