Audit Tool – How did we develop the audit of Potentially Avoidable Appointments?
Reducing the Workload in General Practice
NHS England asked the Primary Care Foundation, working with the NHS Alliance, to undertake two pieces of work to look at how the burden on practices might be reduced. One of them was focused on 'potentially avoidable appointments' whilst the other looked at the burden of bureaucracy. There is a real commitment within NHS England to seeing how they can help directly, but also through influencing others.
Shaping demand, looking at potentially avoidable appointments
The tool collects information on the number of avoidable appointments you have in your surgery. As workload increases, we are increasingly aware that, GPs don't need to see everyone - that many patients could be seen by others in the practice team or by other agencies, that too many agencies make unnecessary demands on GPs time, or patients could find better ways to care for themselves or seek reassurance elsewhere.
Transforming from a paper audit to an App you can download on to your computer screen
To begin with, information was collected on paper and collated on spreadsheets. For more about the original aims of the audit see the video below from Robert Varnam, GP and Head of General Practice Development at NHS England, describing what is involved and encouraging practices to take part.
The results of the initial audit for ‘Making Time in General Practice’ suggested that, on average, 27% of appointments in general practice were potentially avoidable if other services and support were put in place. NHS England is now committed to extending this work by funding support for practices - so there is no direct cost - of an App you can download on to your computer screen, making it really easy for you to see how many of your appointments might be avoidable and helping you explore how you might be able to do something about it.
Working in partnership with CFEP UK Surveys
We have worked alongside our long-term partners at CFEP UK Surveys, experts in designing and running audits and surveys in general practice, to make the audit as easy as possible to use. We have also looked carefully at how we report back the results, providing practices with all the information you need to have an informed discussion about what you can do to reduce unnecessary appointments and reduce your current workload.