News, Primary Care News

2024/25 GP contract places focus on role of data from digital telephony systems

NHS England has published the arrangements for the GP contract in 2024/25, highlighting changes around the data from digital telephony systems and vaccinations services as well as the need to use digital tools to identify catchment areas.

In 2024/25 practices will be required to provide data on eight metrics around digital telephony with the aim of using the data to support service improvement and planning, particularly around supporting better understanding of overall demand ahead of next winter.

The provision of this data is to be mandated from October 2024 in order to “allow practices time to review and understand their own data before it is shared”, with the metrics including call volume; calls abandoned; call time to answer; missed call volumes; wait time before calls abandoned; call backs requested; call backs made; and average call length time.

The updated contract also highlights that GP practices will be required to use digital tools provided by NHSE to reproduce a digital copy of their practice boundary, with a need to review and potentially update GP practice boundaries “where data quality is insufficient for the intended purpose”. Additionally, NHSE notes that practices will need to produce a digital copy of their agreed boundary where new practices are established or merged, or where a change to catchment area is agreed.

NHSE shares an overview of priority domains for the modern general practice access model, with “better digital telephony” as a key focus. All PCNs should have a digital telephony solution implemented, the update states, including call back functionality, and data from the systems should be routinely used to support capacity and demand planning along with quality improvement.

Another priority is “simpler online requests”, with NHSE stating that online consultations should be available for patients to make administrative and clinical requests at least during core hours.

The role of data is also highlighted around vaccinations and immunisations, with the GP contract to be changed over 2024/25 so that practices are required to share vaccination status with local child health information services, and support these services in data cleansing; and improve data recording of vaccination status for all patients. Here, the update also notes a need to improve data quality for vaccination events, “supported through a rationalisation of SNOMED codes used for vaccination event recording. following an impact assessment by NHS England”.

Also on data, NHSE adds that practices and PCNs will be required to submit workforce information on a quarterly basis to the national workforce reporting service.

The contract can be found in full here.

Last week, HTN hosted a discussion on digital primary care, with the conversation including current use cases of tech in this space, present challenges and thoughts for the future.

In February, we explored the latest board papers from NHS England in which the digital portfolio across the NHS was discussed, including primary care, the federated data platform.