Practice level appointment data publication begins

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The Government's announced practice appointment availability league tables beginning this month.

From 24 November practice level appointment data will be added to the monthly data published by NHS DigitalThis publication will be further updated in April 2023, integrating practice level data into the broader reports and introducing a practice level dashboard of appointment data to be made available for ICBs. 

Practices may wish to check their appointment data each month to ensure it is accurate. The idea of providing practice level data to allow patients to compare their practice with others was introduced in September by Thérèse Coffey as Health and Social Care Secretary. The plan was opposed by Londonwide LMCs and other GP organisations at the time.  

The information being released includes: 

  1. Time between booking and appointment date
  2. Appointment mode
  3. HCP type (GP, Other or Unknown are the 3 choices)
  4. National Appointment category

Concerns have been raised about the accuracy of the data and its potential use. This data does not fully or reasonably represent the activity of general practice and should not be used to quantify workload or capacity.  

There is no minimum number of appointments practices must provide and the manner in which practices deliver care is up to them. There is existing guidance on safe working in General Practice and the BMA has also published guidance on workload control in General Practice. 

The findings of our most recent workforce survey highlight the issues facing general practice as workforce challenges grow, demand increases, and the working environment and expectations across the system become increasingly unmanageable.