Practices are being funded for a scheme that will help them focus on reducing attendance from their frequent attenders and implement interventions to refer them to other services.
North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs are implementing the ‘Quick-start programme’ (QSP), which is being funded as part of NHS England’s Time to Care programme and will be able to identify those patients that attend more than 20 times in a year.
It will offer training to staff on how to review these patients and advise them on other interventions within a nine-minute appointment.
The CCGs say that the programme should release ‘hundreds’ of appointments a year for a practice with an 8,000-9,000 patient list.
Originally, an allocated £385,000 pot of funding from North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs was budgeted, but according to Tracey Cox, primary care development lead for both CCGs, the NHS England Sustainable Improvement Team ‘have since supported this by offering cohorts locally free to access.’
This has allowed practices in the area to participate in modules over an eight-week period that will save time for both clinical and administrative staff.
Practices must have completed either the ‘frequent attenders’ or ‘appropriate appointments’ modules.
The ‘frequent attenders’ module will tackle this patient group by using a GP practice’s data to identify such patients and look for any errors (eg. coding errors).
Then a multidisciplinary team will show clinical and admin staff how to review each patient for a maximum of nine minutes, and outline interventions that can be used to refer them away from GPs, such as social prescribing.
This module is delivered over three sessions, each lasting a half day. It is stated in NHS North Staffordshire CCG papers that depending on a practice’s list size, a practice with 8-9,000 patients ‘would likely be able to release hundreds of appointments per year, with many discovering inconsistencies between clinical practices for long term conditions.’
The ‘appropriate appointments’ module links practices to the national ‘avoidable appointments audit tool’ with the aim of allocating the right person to the patient.