Technology enabled care services to support people in rural settings

NHS England | April 2019 |Technology enabled care services to support people in rural settings

New to the Atlas of Shared Learning is a case study where a Clinical Nurse led the implementation of Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) in Shropshire. Taking this digital approach to care is has significantly improved patient accessibility and experience, outcomes and use of resources locally (Source: NHS England).

Technology enabled care services to support people in rural settings


Primary care network podcasts

NHS England | April 2019 |Primary care network podcasts

NHS England has launched a new monthly podcast focusing on primary care networks.


In this episode Dr Canniff talks about her passion for primary care networks and how she is supporting the development of networks in her own area, as part of the work across Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System (Source: NHS England).

Listen at NHS England or via SoundCloud 

Campaign to attract GPs to return to general practice

Health Education England & NHS Return| March 2019 | Campaign to attract GPs to return to general practice

Health Education England (HEE) and NHS England have launched a new campaign to encourage GPs to return to practice. The GP Induction and Refresher (I&R) Scheme provides a safe, supported and direct route for qualified GPs to join or return to NHS general practice in England. 

The scheme is open to qualified GPs working abroad or living overseas, who may even be able to start the scheme before returning to England.

General Practitioners on the scheme can expect:
  • a placement bursary of up to £3,500 a month
  • help towards indemnity costs and other fees
  • a dedicated account manager
  • a tailored programme to meet learning needs, experiences and personal commitments
  • access to training and development support
  • no fees for I&R assessments or the Portfolio Route
  • up to four fully funded attempts at the I&R assessments
  • relocation support for GPs relocating from overseas up to £18,500
  • help with visa costs and sponsorship for non-EEA clinicians
  • options to complete most parts of the scheme before moving back to England, if you are living overseas.

Full details of the scheme are available from the NHS Return website

Return brochures can be downloaded from NHS England

Further details from HEE 

In the news:

OnMedica Campaign to attract former GPs back to general practice

Of interest:

OnMedica  BMA sees hope for rebuild of general practice

Only half of practices considered their premises to be fit for present needs

BMA | February 2019 | Only half of practices considered their premises to be fit for present needs

The BMA survey on General Practice (GP) premises was open to complete online in Autumn (from 31 October to 21 November 2018), 1000 GP practices participated in the survey and the BMA received a good response from across England. 

The key survey findings:

  • Only half of practices considered their premises to be fit for present needs (this figure is lower than when last asked in 2005 when 60% thought their premises were fit for present needs)
  • This number falls to just over 2 in 10 practices when asked if they thought their premises was fit for the future(population growth) (this is very similar to when asked in 2005).
  • The last significant modification or extension to premises took place in the mid-2000s (2005), on average, pre-dating many of the increases in patient demand and population growth witnessed over the last decade.
  • Following successful application, some practices reported waiting as little as one month to received improvement grant funding while others up to around one year (Source: BMA).

Read the press release Half of GP practice buildings not fit for purpose, BMA survey reveals

You can read the survey results from the BMA website

Items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: an update and a consultation on further guidance for CCGs

NHS England | November 2018 | Items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: an update and a consultation on further guidance for CCGs

NHS England are running a national consultation on items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care (for example GP practices, pharmacies, the dentist, and 
eye clinics.) The consultation involves 9 medicines and products. According to NHS England, research shows that some medicines can be replaced with other medicines that
work better, are safer or cost less money.


Overview Items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: an update and a consultation on further guidance for CCGs

Easy read version of the consultation document

Consultation document 

See also:

NHS Clinical Commissioners [press release]

Clinical Pharmacists save GP five hours, finds small study

OnMedica | September 2018 | Practice-based pharmacists free up GP time

A small study published in the British Journal of General Practice finds that pharmacists based in GP Practices can save 5 hours of prescribing work a week for GPs.  The study identified further benefits to clinical pharmacists working at practices, such as having a positive impact on patient safety, staff morale, and staff stress. The research sought to address a gap in the literature as the impact of clinical pharmacists on GP practices, it investigated the effects of  clinical pharmacists in 16 urban practices  Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Scotland  (via OnMedica).



Background General practice in the UK is experiencing a workforce crisis. However, it is unknown what impact prescribing support teams may have on freeing up GP capacity and time for clinical activities.

Aim To release GP time by providing additional prescribing resources to support general practices between April 2016 and March 2017.

Design and setting Prospective observational cohort study in 16 urban general practices that comprise Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership in Scotland.

Method GPs recorded the time they spent dealing with special requests, immediate discharges, outpatient requests, and other prescribing issues for 2 weeks prior to the study and for two equivalent periods during the study. Specialist clinical pharmacists performed these key prescribing activities to release GP time and Read coded their activities. GP and practice staff were surveyed to assess their expectations at baseline and their experiences during the final data-collection period. Prescribing support staff were also surveyed during the study period.

Results GP time spent on key prescribing activities significantly reduced by 51% (79 hours, P less than 0.001) per week, equating to 4.9 hours  per week per practice. The additional clinical pharmacist resource was well received and appreciated by GPs and practices. As well as freeing up GP capacity, practices and practitioners also identified improvements in patient safety, positive effects on staff morale, and reductions in stress. Prescribing support staff also indicated that the initiative had a positive impact on job satisfaction and was considered sustainable, although practice expectations and time constraints created new challenges.

Conclusion Specialist clinical pharmacists are safe and effective in supporting GPs and practices with key prescribing activities in order to directly free GP capacity. However, further work is required to assess the impact of such service developments on prescribing cost-efficiency and clinical pharmacist medication review work.


Full reference: Maskrey, M.,  JohnsonC. F.,  Cormack, J.,  RyanM.,  &  Macdonald, H. | 2018 | Releasing GP capacity with pharmacy prescribing support and New Ways of Working: a prospective observational cohort study | 

Read the full paper at British Journal of General Practice 

Mental health therapists in GP practices could be the norm

NHS England | August 2018 | Mental health therapists in GP practices could be the norm

New guidance to support GPs, practice managers and commissioners integrate mental health therapists into primary care pathways has been created by NHS England. 

The guidance will enable therapists to become  integrated into primary care teams and focus on common mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, particularly where this occurs in patients with a long term physical health condition such as diabetes, respiratory or heart problems.


Evidence suggests 90 per cent of  adults with mental health problems are supported in primary care and broadening the range of services for patients, means local health services are better equipped to deal with patients’ physical and mental health needs (Source: NHS England).

See NHS England  Guidance on co-locating mental health therapists in primary care

NHS England news release Mental health therapists in GP practices could be the norm

In the media:

Pulse NHS England asks GPs to house mental health therapists within practices

GP Online GPs urged to bring mental health therapy services into practices

The Daily Mail Every GP surgery in England should hire a mental health expert to tackle depression that makes physical illnesses worse, experts say