General Practice Alert State: new details on measuring levels and responding to pressures

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Our guidance now includes clear benchmarks on available staff vs patient demand and what to do if a practice's alert state rises.

Londonwide LMCs and other LMCs nationally are rolling out the GP alert system (GPAS). We began this in 2022 and to date GPAS is now operating in 13 of our London Boroughs. Three more will go live in June and the remaining will be going live between July and September this year. GPAS will help to inform the rest of the NHS on the pressures faced by general practice and will change the narrative, so that pressure in general practice is considered a system problem rather than an individual practice’s failings.

It is important that we demonstrate this to the rest of the NHS system and if we don’t do this ourselves, the ICBs will implement their own data gathering process. We have this short window of opportunity to implement a system for ourselves, led by the LMC and to do this effectively we need practices to sign up.

As part of this we have now updated our guidance on GPAS levels giving clear ratios of FTE GPs to registered patients and of available GPs to patient appointments provided. The guidance also now details what measures practices can take when they reach an escalated GPAS level, such as amber or red, to mitigate some of the pressures on them. GPAS is based on three variables: workload, workforce and clinical administration. All three need to be considered when assessing your rating as green, amber, red or black. You can read more on this here.

Easy sign-up

Your sector teams here at Londonwide will support you and the process to do this is very simple. Submit your practices details here to sign-up. Following this, all you will need is one person within the practice to fill in a form of six questions every week taking only 3 minutes of practice time to give the rich data we need to be able to put forward our case.

Speaking up for general practice

At present, all practices are struggling to meet demand and due to this, workload is becoming unmanageable and unsafe. Practices often feel powerless to do anything to control this for fear of being in breach of contract. The BMA (British Medical Association) has produced its guidance on, Safe Working in General Practice and we encourage you to read this.

Remember GPAS is a system set up by general practice for general practice. The data is anonymous and is collected by your trusted partner Londonwide LMCs to enable us to show our pressures against the OPEL system used by hospital trusts and ambulance services.

Be part of the opportunity to control our own narrative. The more practices engaged with this the more powerful the data becomes.