Have your say on GP online consultations

NHS England |May 2018 | Have your say on GP online consultations

NHS England is seeking thoughts and opinions from both GPs and members of the public on online consultations.  They want to know what people think about the idea of online consultations so we can improve the service and increase the availability and use.


Online consultations are a way for patients to contact their GP practice without having to wait on the phone or take time out to come into the practice. Using a smartphone, tablet or computer, they can contact their practice about a new problem or an ongoing issue (Source: NHS England).

There if further information for members of the public here

There is further information for GP and practice team engagement here 

The two surveys will close on Friday 15 June 2018.

NHS Digital data shows a quarter of patients in England access online GP services

NHS Digital  | March 2018  | Dramatic annual surge in online GP services as patients sign up for convenience

2017 saw a 42 per cent increase in patients accessing online GP services, as 14 million benefitted from the convenience of booking appointments, ordering  repeat prescriptions and view their medical records.

The statistics released by NHS Digital show that nearly a quarter of patients in England, 13.9 million, are registered to use online services. The figures show an average of one million appointments are being made or cancelled online every month, and nearly 2.3 million prescriptions ordered online, as practices and their patients are increasingly using digital technology.


GP practices that use the technology are receiving fewer patient calls and less patients failing to attend appointment, which means the time saved can be used on other activities within the GP practice.

Juliet Bauer, Chief Digital Officer for the NHS said: “We’re delighted to see an almost doubling in the numbers of people accessing digital services in GP practices since last year. We’ve worked hard to support practice staff to be able to offer these services to their patients. The work to improve GP engagement, patient awareness and the patient experience is resulting in more sign-ups and better use of these vital services. This is just one example of how we are increasing the use of technology in the NHS to empower people to take more control of their health, wellbeing and care.”

The full piece can be read at NHS Digital 

More than 50 % of patients visiting GPs have multimoribidities, finds Cambridge University study

A new study that is published in the British Journal of General Practice demonstrates that over 14 million people in England have multimorbidities. The researchers provide an up-to-date and comprehensive description of multimorbidity — where patients have two or more currently active, long term conditions.  They found over 50 per cent of GP consultations are now with patients with multimorbidity.
This study looked at the experiences of 404,000 patients within the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD).  CPRD database is a nationally owned resource of millions of anonymised patient GP records, over the last 30 years it has underpinned 2,000 research articles (via Cambridge University)
heart-1698840_1280The full article can be accessed from the British Journal of General Practice 


Multimorbidity places a substantial burden on patients and the healthcare system, but few contemporary epidemiological data are available.

Aim To describe the epidemiology of multimorbidity in adults in England, and quantify associations between multimorbidity and health service utilisation.

Design and setting Retrospective cohort study, undertaken in England.
Method The study used a random sample of 403 985 adult patients (aged over 18 years), who were registered with a general practice on 1 January 2012 and included in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Multimorbidity was defined as having two or more of 36 long-term conditions recorded in patients’ medical records, and associations between multimorbidity and health service utilisation (GP consultations, prescriptions, and hospitalisations) over 4 years were quantified.

In total, 27.2% of the patients involved in the study had multimorbidity. The most prevalent conditions were hypertension (18.2%), depression or anxiety (10.3%), and chronic pain (10.1%). The prevalence of multimorbidity was higher in females than males (30.0% versus 24.4% respectively) and among those with lower socioeconomic status (30.0% in the quintile with the greatest levels of deprivation versus 25.8% in that with the lowest). Physical–mental comorbidity constituted a much greater proportion of overall morbidity in both younger patients (18–44 years) and those patients with a lower socioeconomic status. Multimorbidity was strongly associated with health service utilisation. Patients with multimorbidity accounted for 52.9% of GP consultations, 78.7% of prescriptions, and 56.1% of hospital admissions.

Multimorbidity is common, socially patterned, and associated with increased health service utilisation. These findings support the need to improve the quality and efficiency of health services providing care to patients with multimorbidity at both practice and national level.

Full reference: Cassell, A. et al  | 2018 |The epidemiology of multimorbidity in primary care: a retrospective cohort study | British Journal of General Practice |ePub |  D

Don’t blame GPs for high rates of antibiotic use — society must play its part, says RCGP

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has responded to Public Health England’s research published on antibiotic prescriptions in primary care.  The PHE study found  that at  least 20% of all antibiotics prescribed in primary care in England are inappropriate. 


Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs said:

“If GPs do prescribe antibiotics, it is because, in their expert opinion, they are the most appropriate treatment available, given the unique circumstances of the patients before us. However we are still coming under considerable pressure from some patients who need to understand that antibiotics are not a ‘catch all’ for every illness.”

The full response can be read at RCGP


In the media:

The Guardian Fifth of prescribed antibiotics are unnecessary, study finds

ITV News: One in five GP antibiotic prescriptions inappropriate 

Choice in mental health care updated

Choice in mental health care: Guidance on implementing patients’ legal rights to choose the provider and team for their mental health care (2014) has been updated by NHS England. It provides guidance for commissioners, GPs and providers on how to implement patients’ legal rights to choose their care provider and the team they see for their mental health care. (NHS England)

choice in mental health
Image source: http://www.england.nhs.uk

It has been  developed with colleagues from across the mental health sector. It seeks to promote a common understanding of what mental health patients’ legal rights are, outlines where they apply, and what they mean in everyday practice.

You can access the intereactive pdf here 

Poll of GPs reveals nearly a quarter have seen patients harmed due to the ‘winter crisis’

A  GPonline indicates that 25% of GPs have seen patients harmed by the NHS winter pressure. The survey of over 500 GPs said they were aware of at least one specific case in which a patient at their practice had come to harm because NHS services were overstretched this winter.  Respondents reported that some patients have died due to the extreme pressure on the health service. doctor-784329_1920

A third of GP partners were aware of patients registered at their practice who had come to harm because of winter pressure. More than 80% of all respondents said they were concerned that patients had been put at risk by pressure on the health service in their area this winter.

Further information and the full story is available from GPonline

General practice case studies

NHS England has published the following case studies relating to general practice: