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General Practice Forward View: How will IT in general practice develop?

The General Practice Forward View sets out big plans for investment in IT in general practice, including a £45m programme to support the uptake of online consultation systems.

Along with the extra funding for online consultation, NHS England is increasing the allocations for CCGs for the provision of IT services for general practice.

As part of this increased investment NHS England is introducing a wider range of core requirements for IT services that CCGs should provide.

2016/17

During 2016/17, services funding via CCG budgets will include the ability to access digital patient records inside and outside the practice, for example when clinicians are on home visits.

It should also pay for specialist support for information governance, IT security, clinical system training and optimisation and an annual practice IT review.

Practices will also receive funding for outgoing SMS messaging for communication with patients. CCGs should also be helping support practices aim for 10% of their patients using one or more online service, for example online appointment booking, online repeat prescription requests and online access to their records, by the end of this financial year.

From December there will also be specialist advice on information sharing agreements for practices.

2017/18

In 2017/18 CCGs’ IT funding should pay for wifi within the practice and provide practices with access to data and tools to help them understand demand, activity and gaps in service provision.

From December 2017 a national framework for the cost-effective purchase of telephone and e-consultation tools will be available, as will funding to support education for patients and staff to make best use of digital services.

New national developments

In addition to local initiatives that CCGs might develop to support joint working, at a national level NHS England is also planning developing online access to a clinical triage system for patients, an approved apps library to enable GPs to recommend apps that could support patients with specific needs.

  • Emma Bower is editor of Medeconomics and GPonline

Read more about the GP Forward View

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