The Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) of Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire established a formal partnership with North Hampshire and Isle of Wight CCGs to help accelerate improvements in patient care, be more effective and reduce duplication. By working together, the Partnership shares capacity and skills and operates with greater consistency for the benefit of patients.
In East Hampshire, Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire CCGs serve 432,560 patients across the Fareham, Gosport, Petersfield, Whitehill and Bordon, Waterlooville, Emsworth and Havant areas and work with thirty-seven GP practices.
In common with all CCGs, Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire were tasked under NHS England’s Improving access to general practice initiative to ensure that everyone has improved access to GP services including sufficient routine appointments at evenings and weekends to meet locally determined demand, alongside effective access to out of hours and urgent care services. The initiative set out plans for CCGs to commission and fund additional capacity across England to achieve this.
The practical implications of the initiative are that GP practices need to extend practice opening hours and allow patients to book appointments with GPs at other practices if convenient via extended access hubs. The 2018/19 GMS Contract also stipulated that NHS 111 should have the ability to book appointments for patients directly into GP appointment schedules. Targets around these challenges include:
- one appointment per 3,000 registered patients per day should be made available to NHS 111 for direct appointment booking
- extended access provision available for out of hours and the ability for clinicians to view patient records at the Extended Access Hub
The CCGs awarded the Southern Hampshire Primary Care Alliance a contract to provide all practices extended access appointments and out of hours appointments. The technical solution originally used by the Alliance was EMIS clinical services and Remote Consultation software as thirty-six of the thirty-seven practices use EMIS as their principle clinical system. This was found to be clunky and time consuming for practice staff and they could not access the TPP system for the one surgery using SystmOne as their principal clinical system. As a result, both the system and service were not fully utilised and manual workarounds were introduced. There has been a long-recognised issue of lack of interoperability between the GP clinical systems which has created a barrier to seamless sharing of patient information and appointments.
What was required was a more efficient and effective way of managing extended access and out of hours appointments across all thirty-seven of the GP practices. In support of this a solution to allow record sharing across all practices was also required.
In pursuit of this, the local team contacted the GP Connect Team.