NHS England has published the latest statistics on general practice appointments from September 2023, sharing that 23.8 percent were carried out via telephone (estimated to include around 7 million appointments) and 2.1 percent through video conferencing software (approximately 651,000 appointments) during the month.
These figures demonstrate a slight drop from August 2023, when 26.5 percent of appointments were held over the telephone, though the same number used video conferencing.
Comparing the figures to the data from the previous September also indicates a small decrease for telephone appointments (from 28 percent), though video conferencing has seen a rise in the last year; in September 2022, the dashboard indicates that only 0.6 percent of appointments were registered as video conferencing or online methods.
The interactive data dashboard from NHS England enables statistics to be split by region; here, we can see that London had the highest percentage of appointments taking place via the telephone over September, with 29.6 of appointments taking place via this method (estimated to cover 1 million appointments).
The highest percentage of video or online appointments goes to the South West, with 2.3 percent of appointments happening via this method, or around 78,000 appointments.
However, the Midland’s larger number of appointments overall means that despite a lower percentage of video appointments (2.2), 134,000 appointments are estimated to have taken place using online means.
A caveat is provided regarding the data, with NHSE stating that although the publication provides “important information”, it “does now show the totality of GP activity/workload”; it includes data from participating practices and primary care networks using EMIS, TPP, Eva Health, Informatica, Cegedim and Babylon GP systems.
Click here to view the dashboard.
In April last year, we examined general practice data to compare and contrast the number of telephone and video or online appointments; click here to read on.
In other news around general practice, in October we shared a guide focusing on prescription management, long-term conditions and new patient registrations from NHSE, as well as a support offer focused on improving telephone journeys in primary care.
In the summer, we also covered guidance from NHSE on supporting digital inclusion in general practice, based on examples of good practice shared from primary care organisations and VCSEs across the country.