Roll out of NHS Wi-Fi to GP surgeries begins

NHS Digital has begun roll out of NHS WiFi to GP surgeries in England and it should be completed by the end of the year.

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Using NHS WiFi, patients will be able to access the internet free of charge in their GP’s waiting room, via their smart phone or tablet. It will enable patients to link in with local health clinics and services and is paving the way for future developments in digital patient care.

NHS WiFi will provide a secure, stable, and reliable WiFi capability, consistent across all NHS settings. It will allow patients and the public to download health apps, browse the internet and access health and care information.

Local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are responsible for choosing a supplier that can provide an NHS WiFi compliant system which suits their needs, and working with them to implement it across their local NHS sites. The chosen system must be based on a set of policies and guidance defined by NHS Digital.

Guidance available via NHS Digital relates to implementing NHS WiFi in GP practices. Hospitals and secondary care will follow in 2018.

Further details available here

GPs to refer patients to libraries o promote access to reliable health information

GPs will be able to refer patients with long-term conditions to public libraries from this month under a charity-led scheme to promote access to reliable health information | GP Online

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A reading list of 28 trusted books for patients with long-term conditions, stocked by all public libraries in England from this month, has been drawn up under the scheme, backed by the RCGP and organisations including Public Health England.

The books on prescription scheme for patients with long-term conditions is an extension of the existing Reading Well programme, launched by charity the Reading Agency and the Society of Chief Librarians.

Thousands of GPs already refer patients to libraries under the existing scheme, which has focused on areas including mental health and support for patients with dementia and their carers.

UK top in primary care co-ordination according to international survey

The UK emerges as the first of 11 countries in an international survey of care co-ordination in primary care settings | The Commonwealth Fund

In a survey of health care experiences in 11 high-income countries, the rate of poor primary care coordination was 5.2 percent overall and 9.8 percent in the United States, the highest rate. Patients who have a positive, established relationship with their provider were less likely to report poor primary care coordination. Being young or having a chronic illness was associated with poor care coordination.

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Image source: The Commonwealth Fund

The dimensions of care coordination assessed for this study were:

  • access to medical records or test results;
  • receiving conflicting information;
  • use of diagnostic tests that the patient felt were unnecessary; sharing of information between primary care doctor and specialist.

The UK had the highest percentage of patients reporting no care coordination gaps within primary care.

Full results can be accessed here

 

General practice nursing

Health Education England has published The General Practice Nursing Workforce Development Plan.

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Image source: http://www.hee.nhs.uk

This report aims to offers guidance and steps that can be taken to improve general practice nursing recruitment and retention, and encourage nurses to return to the profession by setting out how best to respond to the current and anticipated workforce challenges at both strategic and local levels.

Key report recommendations include:

  • improving training capacity for the general practice nurse workforce by providing access to accredited training to equip them for each level of their role;
  • raising the profile of general practice nursing, to increase the uptake of the role as a first-destination career;
  • developing GPN educator roles to cover all CCG areas, including the promotion of mentor training for all GPNs  to retain the knowledge and expertise of existing GPNs; and
  • the development of a sustainable and easily accessible ‘how-to’ toolkit and web based resource to support the implementation of general practice nursing workforce initiatives.
  • a nationwide standardised general practice nursing ‘return to practice’ education programme which includes a general practice placement, mentorship and appropriate support to meet the NMC requirements for ‘return to practice’.

Full report is available here

Reducing hospital admissions by improving continuity of care in general practice

This briefing summarises research that analysed data from over 230,000 anonymised patient records for older people aged 62 – 82 years | The Health Foundation

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Image source: The Health Foundation

  • Continuity of care is an aspect of general practice valued by patients and GPs alike. However, it seems to be in decline in England.
  • Our analysis, published in The BMJ and summarised in this briefing, looks at the link between continuity of care and hospital admissions for older patients in England. We looked specifically at admissions for conditions that could potentially be prevented through effective treatment in primary care.
  • We found there to be fewer hospital admissions – both elective and emergency – for these conditions for patients who experience higher continuity of care (ie those who see the same GP a greater proportion of the time). Controlling for patient characteristics, we estimate that if patients saw their most frequently seen GP two more times out of every 10 consultations, this would be associated with a 6% decrease in admissions.
  • To improve continuity for patients, general practices who are not already doing so could set prompts on their booking systems and encourage receptionists to book patients to their usual GP. Patients could also be encouraged to request their usual GP.
  • Clinical commissioning groups and NHS England Area Teams could work with general practices to support quality improvement initiatives that maintain or improve continuity of care.
  • Future national initiatives should have a well developed understanding of how and why the policy will impact on continuity in a particular context.

Read the full overview here

Read the full report here

Medical school tripled GP trainee output after raising exposure to general practice

The University of Cambridge medical school more than tripled its output of GP trainees in 2016 after implementing measures to give students and F2 doctors greater exposure to general practice | GP Online

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Giving medical students and junior doctors more exposure to general practice placements could give a real boost to interest in GP careers, the outcome suggests.

For F2 leavers in 2016, almost a quarter (22%) of those who graduated from the University of Cambridge and went directly into further training opted to begin GP training, according to official data.

Just one year before, in 2015, the university had the lowest proportion of F2s entering GP training in the England, at just 7%.

Read the full news article here

Changes to General Practice contract 2017/18

NHS England has issued a letter setting out the key changes to the GMS contract for 2017/18

The new agreement includes an increased focus on tailored annual reviews offered to frail pensioners, and an increase in the number of health checks for people with learning disabilities.  The new contract also includes provisions to encourage practices to expand access and not to close for half-a-day a week.

The contract, to take effect from 01 April 2017, will see investment of around £238 million going into the contract for 2017/18. In addition, £157 million from a previous earmarked scheme will be transferred into core GP funding so that family doctors can be more flexible in how they care for the most frail.