On Thursday 24 November, NHS Digital will make available practice-level appointment data, as laid out in the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s Our Plan for Patients.
For the first time, the public will be able to view practice-level data on the number of appointments delivered, the length of time between booking and receiving an appointment and more.
NCL ICB recognises that although this data contains important information, it does not show all the work happening within a primary care setting, the complexity of activity or provide an indicator of the quality of care.
With this in mind, practices are encouraged to review their data and should it not fairly reflect activity, consider opportunities for improving the coding and recording of activity to ensure work is reflected in the data as it’s refreshed on a monthly basis.
Patient and stakeholder enquiries
NCL ICB expects this data to attract public and stakeholder interest and have made available a set of Frequently Asked Questions which can be used to support practices in responding to patient queries (see pack in Downloads).
A set of key messages is also available should practices wish to respond to media enquiries, although practices are under no obligation to do so. Support and advice in dealing with the media is available from NCL ICB’s Communications and Engagement Team to help you respond (see pack in Downloads).
If you receive an enquiry and would like advice, please email the team in the first instance (contact details below).
Sadly, NCL ICB is aware that the publication of this data may result in an increase in enquiries for practices and potentially abuse towards staff. With this in mind, it is recommended that practices promote the NHS Staff Respect campaign and encourage staff to access the NCL Training Hub’s health and wellbeing and support offer.
The ICB would like to thank practices for their continued commitment. It is recognised that practices continue to work incredibly hard to offer patients the right support, providing 15-30% more appointments than before the pandemic with an increased number of appointments delivered face-to-face.
The ICB will work with you in the coming months to support improvements in data quality and use this publication as an opportunity to demonstrate primary care activity and pressures using appointment data in combination with insights and data from a wider range of sources.