General Practitioners

(asked on 15th April 2024) - View Source

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the convenience and efficacy of the systems used by NHS GP practices for patients to make an appointment to see a doctor.

Answered by
Lord Markham Portrait
Lord Markham
This question was answered on 25th April 2024

We published our Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care in May 2023, which sets out how we are moving toward a ‘Modern General Practice’ model. This plan is backed by £240 million of retargeted funding going to provide digital services with the goal of increasing access. A copy of the plan is attached.

The sole method for general practices (GPs) to procure these digital services is via NHS England procurement frameworks, which list pre-approved suppliers for digital and IT services. This is to ensure consistency in service provisions, as each supplier must meet a set of requirements to be entered into a framework.

Each practice will run a procurement for these services and will select a supplier based on their differing specifications for how the IT systems will best meet their patients’ needs. Each supplier will offer varied services with varied benefits, including capabilities which allow patients and service users to request and receive support relating to healthcare concerns, at a time and place convenient for them.

As of March 2024, 93% of general practices now have digital telephony systems, this has enabled GP teams to manage multiple calls and helping to end the ‘8am rush’ for appointments. Trials show that this has increased patients’ ability to get through to their practice by almost a third.

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