GP practices need to configure GP Connect on practice clinical systems to allow appointment sharing with the COVID Clinical Assessment Service (CCAS) so patients triaged with the symptoms of COVID-19 can have an appointment booked with a GP.
Practices previously configured access to appointments from CCAS using GP Connect. For many, sharing arrangements may still be in place. All practices must check whether they are still sharing appointments with CCAS. If appointment sharing arrangements have stopped action must be taken to reinstate this.
Practice actions for setting up GP Connect bookings from CCAS
Practices should be aware that patients’ appointments booked in by CCAS are highly likely to have COVID-19 and should therefore not be offered a face-to-face appointment. Practices should clearly indicate this when they configure the appointments in their system.
All GP practices must set up access to appointments with CCAS using GP Connect: Appointment Management. The ODS code for CCAS is RYEA3.
GP Connect is an established service for appointment bookings from NHS 111, and the practice will already have defined processes for dealing with patients booked in. The practice should decide how best to manage bookings from CCAS. We have published guidance on appointment management in GP practices.
Patient journey for GP Connect bookings from CCAS
- The patient calls NHS 111 or uses NHS 111 online.
- The patient is triaged as a possible COVID-19 case and is referred to CCAS clinician for further triage.
- Where appropriate, the CCAS clinician books an appointment for the patient with their GP using GP Connect: Appointment Management.
- The patient will not be told an appointment time by CCAS, only that their GP will contact them.
- The practice reviews the case and makes the appropriate contact with the patient.
- The patient is directed to the appropriate service or given self-care advice.
How to set up appointments
When you’ve decided on the most appropriate way to set up these appointments, use the step-by-step instructions in our guidance videos to set them up.
Guidance video for TPP users
Transcript for TPP video
Hello, my name’s Michelle and I’m going to talk to you about how to configure GP Connect to share both your patient records and your appointments within the TPP system. It’s important to note that you have the option to share as many or as few appointments as you want to and you have the flexibility to change that number at any point.
First we need to enable the functionality for record sharing. As of the end of April 2020, TPP have centrally enabled HTML record sharing nationally in every TPP GP practice in England in order to support the COVID-19 response and in line with the COVID notice.
If you do want to check your configuration you can do so by going to setup>users and policy>organisation preferences and following the instructions on the screen. The bottom half of the slide tells you that you will need to configure your full if you wish to use GP Connect to view patient records across the primary care network for integrated care services.
If you want to be able to use that within your practice you need to review your clinical tree to do so. In the normal way of clinical tree configuration, retrieve a patient and right click on the clinical tree to customise the tree. In the event tree configuration dialogue click the third-party patient record node and double click on it to add then click OK.
It’s worth noting that this step is not compulsory, but if you wish to use GP Connect within the practice you will need to add this option to your clinical tree.
Moving on to appointments. In order to configure your appointments to share with the SECAS and wider NHS111 you need to first of all create a new work list slot. So, to create a new slot go to setup>appointments>slot type and new and give that new slot a name, so for example CCAS COVID. Select bookable and bookable through remote booking alongside type and deselect enable SMS reminders just to make sure that none of your patients are accidentally sent an SMS to remind them of their appointment time.
Click on the telephone appointment, telephone review and telephone screening options, which is your failsafe just in case patients are ever given a timed appointment slot, they will at least expect a telephone appointment rather than a face to face. Patients in the prioritisation list in the prioritisation list from CCAS are not being given a timed appointment slot this is just in case somebody is accidentally told the wrong information.
Then create a new rota template. So, to do this select the new rota template from setup, appointments, rota template and new and alongside the type box select new and in the create rota dialogue box enter the description and the name field. Give your rota a name which is relevant and identifiable, enter the start time, your end time will automatically be entered once your slot durations are added.
Consider changing your background colour to make your rota easily identifiable to your staff and enter in your slot duration. Now in this example the clinic runs from 8 until 6, with a slot duration of 30 minutes, which means that you would have 20 spaces on your prioritisation list.
Remembering that this is a prioritisation list, not a list of appointments, these are spaces on a list and not 30-minute appointment times. Once you click add under the slot duration you will get your slot dialogue, so select the type of COVID-19, the duration of your slots and the quantity that you want to calculate your end time of the clinic, noting that if you’re configured to run rotas in the morning and afternoon, you may have to create two different templates to suit your configuration locally.
Next, we need to set up the template so go to setup, appointments, rota planner. Apply a rota template and enter the dates in the apply from a to boxes and click OK.
Now we need to add in GP Connect and add in the organisations we want to share our appointments with. So, go to setup on the top menu bar, users and policy and all preferences.
Select appointments and GP Connect provider and select specify bookable slot types, search for the slot you’ve just created. Select New under the rota booking rules and select the rota that you’ve just created and select the button along the side ‘only allow organisations with a specific rule to book into this rota type. Select New under the organisation and organisation type specific rules, select the rota you’ve just created and select new under the organisations. You will then see the view on screen. Search for RYEA3 and select the Trust HQ with the H icon as shown on screen.
This is the ODS code for the national clinical COVID assessment service and at the very least your prioritisation list should be shared with this organisation. You may be moving towards the SOP guidance where we recommend that you run one single prioritisation list and so you may also add in all of the other NHS 111 providers into this list and this rota booking rule.
Detail of all of the NHS111 providers and how to find them within the system can be found on the GP Connect website. Once you’re happy that you’ve added all of the organisations into this rota booking rule, then click on OK
Select OK for the rota booking rule and select new under the slot type.
Select the slot type that you’ve just created from the drop-down list and select the button next to ‘only allow organisations with a specific rule to book into this slot type’. Click on OK.
Select new under the organisation and organisation type and select the slot type that you’ve just created and move it into the right-hand box using the arose in the middle. Select new under the organisations and search for the Trust HQ and select OK. You may also at this point want to add in all of the NHS111 providers and this is the place to do that, so add those organisations as well as the national CCAS. Click on OK when you’ve added all of the organisations.
Then the final thing to do is amend your staff details, so any staff member who is going to host one of these appointment rotas needs to have a GP connect role set within their amend staff details and local settings tabs.
If you’re using a dummy clinician to run this rota then they should also be given a GP Connect role. Any of the roles from the drop-down list are perfectly acceptable for a dummy clinician and for your actual clinicians they should be matched closely to their clinical role.
Guidance video for EMIS users
Transcript for EMIS video
Hello, my name’s Michelle and today I’m going to talk to you about how to configure your GP Connect to share your appointments and your patient records within your EMIS clinical system.
It’s important to note before we start that you start that you have the option to share as many or as few appointments as you want to and you have the flexibility to change that number at any point.
First you need to enable the functionality. Now at the end of April 2020 EMIS centrally enabled the GP Connect functionality for all GP practices in England, in line with the COVID notice and the COVID-19 response.
If you do want to check this configuration you can do so as described on screen from the organisation configuration and then GP Connect configuration options. If you are applying any changes you will need to click ok and restart EMIS on the screen that you can see.
To be able to configure our appointments we first need to add a new organisation group so from the EMIS form select organisation configuration, select the organisation groups from the navigation pane towards the bottom of the screen on the left-hand side.
Click add on the ribbon and you will be then be presented with the add organisation group screen. In here you will need to add an organisation group name, which needs to be unique within the EMIS system.
We’re recommending that you go with your GP practice ODS code underscore COVID-19 to ensure that unique name is created. Click on the magnifying glass, type your own GP practice ODS code in, and press search and double click on your own practice to add it to the organisation group. You’ll then need to repeat this step to add all other organisations to the group. The first one on screen is displayed as RYEA3 and that’s the ODS code for the COVID Clinical Assessment Service.
Depending on how you’re intending to configure your prioritisation list, you may have one organisation group for yourselves in the CCAS and a separate one for yourselves and all 111 providers, or you may have everybody in the same list.
So, if you want to add all of the 111 providers and the CCAS to the same list the details of all of their ODS codes and names within the EMIS system can be found on the GP Connect website and you would simply repeat the magnifying glass step until all of NHS 111 providers have been added to the same list. This will ensure that all the appointments within your prioritisation list can be shared with both CCAS and NHS111.
Once you’ve added everybody you will see this screen with your organisation group name, a description if you’ve added one and a list of organisations that you’ve included within that group. Once you’re happy click on OK.
Then we need to move on to creating a new session. So from the appointment book on the ribbon click create session, first of all give your session a session holder. This can be a dummy clinician and you can configure your clinicians within EMIS to hold a session where they’re not in possession of a smartcard and you do that through the job role section which is the second option down on the left hand side of the staff details pane.
Once you’ve added a session holder, you’ll then need to give your session a name, the type is timed appointments, the start date with a from and to time and then a slot duration, remembering that these are spaces on a prioritisation list rather than slot types where patients will be expected to attend an appointment. So your slot duration may be longer or shorter than your usual appointment times.
Change your session category to default non list bookable and make sure that your all GP Connect bookable slots is set so you can see two screens, one of them is for the 9.5 version of EMIS and the other is for 9.6. So either set all bookable GP Connect slots or change the option for all slots GP Connect bookable to yes and then once you’ve done that click on apply filter.
Then you’ll get your Apply Filter dialogue, change the filter type to Organisation Group, find the organisation group that you’ve just set up and click on the number of slots you wish to allocate to that group and then change the kind to Reserve, which will mean that only people within that organisation group can see that these appoints exist and therefore book into them. Then click on OK once you’re happy.
On the left-hand side the session preview will show the globe icon. The globe icon is confirmation that you have made those slots GP Connect bookable, so that’s your safety check.
One red-herring that we have found is that if you go into the slot type details and change them to remotely bookable you will get a red arrow instead of the globe. This is a necessary step but won’t affect the bookings, so if you tick both GP Connect bookable and remotely bookable in the slots then they will still be able to be visible by GP Connect, but the globe icon will change to a red arrow. You don’t need to be concerned if that happens.
Then just the final thing to check is in your slot type details, so select the entire session, right click and go to slot type details, just make sure that your status type is Telephone for all those slots. A telephone slot is just a backup in case a patient is ever given a time slot they won’t present in practice, they’ll expect a telephone call, but the prioritisation list as you already know is being treated as that list and the patients will not be given a timed appointment by NHS111 or CCAS.
The GP Connect Appointment Checker Tool
After you’ve set up appointment slots for CCAS, you can use the GP Connect Appointment Checker Tool to check the configuration.
Frequently asked questions
Why not just book a timed appointment?
The practice will have access to the notes from the CCAS referral and the patients’ record. With this a clinical assessment and prioritisation process can be undertaken, and patients managed in order of urgency. Set appointment slots which are known to the patient would not support this approach.
If a patient with symptoms of COVID-19 contact their GP practice, either because they are unable to speak to NHS 111, or because they have been advised to do so by NHS 111 what should we do?
They should be assessed by the practice rather than directed to NHS 111.
Does GP Connect supersede an existing appointment booking solution (such as Blackpear, Front Desk) and will practices be asked to switch these off or run in parallel?
Proprietary solutions can remain in place, but GP Connect must be set up to enable CCAS referrals. The two systems must be run in parallel.
Will practices still be required to manually make their appointments bookable by other NHS111 providers?
Yes - bookings may still be made by any NHS111 service for non-COVID reason.
How does NHS 111 or CCAS find us?
Your practice arrangements should be configured in the Directory of Service (DOS).
We have changed the DOS in our area to inform patients to call the practice if referred from NHS 111 with COVID-19 symptoms and not attend in person, this was to avoid any unnecessary contact with suspected COVID patients.
CCAS service is telephone based and will not refer patients to a physical location. It is up the practice to assess whether a face-to-face appointment is needed and direct the patient accordingly.
What if we have already set up a 'Hot hub' locally, do we have to change this?
No - locally the DOS can be set up to direct patients to a 'Hot hub', but this should have the required capacity to receive referrals. Alternatively, practices can manage their own CCAS referrals and onward refer to a local 'Hot hub'.
Does the CCAS appointment session need to have an allocated GP?
Yes - GP Connect requires this, but any GP should be able to access this list.
Will I get in referral message from CCAS?
Yes, and CCAS call handlers have been asked to make use of the free text within the ITK referral which accompanies the GP Connect appointment.