Improved Access in Primary Care

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Improved Access in Primary Care

Primary care nationwide is under increasing pressure to improve and maintain good access to services while facing the challenges of a growing, ageing population with complex multiple health conditions. Within Islington the average number of appointments offered by practices remains on par with national standards, however there is wide variation across the borough. 

The Improved Access Local Incentive Scheme (LIS) aims to address this variation across Islington and increase patient access.
The requirements of the LIS are:

  • practice premises to remain open during core hours (Monday to Friday, 8am-6.30pm, excluding bank holidays)
  • practices to report, review and increase the number of appointments offered in relation to the Islington mean number of appointments.

To ensure the effectiveness of the Improved Access LIS, it is important that appointment data collected from primary care is accurate and truly reflective of available patient access. 

A set of Appointment Guidelines has been co-developed with Islington GP practices to provide a framework for practice staff. The guidelines address the management of appointments and some of the nuances in the numerous ways in which appointments can be booked and recorded in primary care. Application of the guidelines in your practice will increase the accuracy of your appointment data. 

In August 2018, to support accurate recording nationwide of appointments in practice appointment books, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the BMA have issued a guide More Accurate General Practice Appointment Data (GPAD). This seeks to respond to the risk of under-recording of activity in primary care, created by new appointment types introduced over the Covid-19 pandemic, e.g. online consultations and use of remote triage and consultations.