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Practice staff asked for views in evaluation of remote GP consultations

A survey of GPs and practice workers will be conducted as part of an independent evaluation of remote GP consultations commissioned by NHS England.

NHS England said in a GP bulletin that the study's insights will "guide future policy and how assistance is offered to general practice."

'As part of our ongoing evaluation work, NHS [England] has commissioned an independent study into staff experiences of digital tools to support patient access, remote triage, and online consultations,' according to the statement. 'Participation from all practice staff – receptionists, administrators, clinicians, and practice managers – is strongly encouraged.' It requested that practice personnel participate in "private discussions" and suggestions for improvement.

The suggested areas for these discussions to cover are workload, patient experience, which parts of remote triage and consultations practice personnel would want to keep or get rid of as a result of their pandemic experiences, and what models have helped practices with demand management.

A small number of practices will be requested to participate in case studies including 'interaction with the whole practice team,' but participation is voluntary, and refusing will not impact on future support from NHS England, according to the statement.

The results of the review are likely to be announced in a report due in May 2022, which will also include best-practice examples for patient care.

In other news, the controversy over the government’s access plan for winter continues. GPs had until November 14 to vote in the BMA's indicative ballot on whether or not to strike against the government's access plan, with 87% of doctors in favour of industrial action. The BMA called for a withdrawal of the government NHS Plan for GPs and patients, which includes publishing data on surgeries that do not see enough patients face-to-face.


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