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Caution over move to monitor practice waiting lists

by in News, NHS

NewsPractices may be required to supply details weekly of their waiting lists for appointments, it has been reported.

The first collection of data – by NHS Digital – is set to be in November.

The aim is to enable NHS England to monitor pressures on practices during the winter months, the Health Service Journal reported.

Details of the plan emerged at a meeting of the board of NHS Digital. It requires new systems to be set up to link data from practices to the national organisation – and a risk analysis suggests that some practices might reject the proposals.

A report said there was “no routine measure of activity levels in general practice.”

It went on: “If this data is not collected, there will continue to be a lack of understanding of the particular pressures on NHS services over winter and other holiday periods, with respect to capacity and utilisation of appointments in general practice.”

NHS England said the plan was “exploratory” and was unlikely to be used for planning this winter.

British Medical Association GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey told the journal he would want assurances that it would be used to support practices – and not penalise them.

He said: “This must be used to support general practice in identifying and dealing with rising workloads as we enter the busy winter period. It must not be used as a new stick to beat practices with.”

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