Guidance on new obligation to complete biannual extended access survey
From October 2016, as set out in regulations, every GP practice in England will be required to submit an online return twice a year through the Primary Care Web Tool: www.primarycare.nhs.uk within a new module titled “Biannual Extended Access”. This will set out what access to appointments the practice offers to patients either itself or through other arrangements, seven days a week.
This module will be made automatically available to GP practice staff who currently have ability to submit mandatory data returns to NHS England, and will be available in the website when the collection opens.
The first return will be open for submission from 3 October 2016 to 31 October 2016 inclusive. The next submission is due in March 2017.
What data must practices submit?
All GP practices are required to submit responses to two sets of questions relation to:
- the extended access service they provide
- the provision of the group of practices to which they belong (the guidance gives a federation of practices as an example)
Is this mandatory?
Yes, this data return is part of the 2016/17 GMS contract regulations.
However, the response to the question "Do you have any additional comments?" is not mandatory.
The full guidance document can be downloaded here. It details the definition of different appointment times. 'Extended access' is any appointment that falls outside the core GMS hours of Monday to Friday 8am to 6:30 pm.
When was this agreed and why haven't we heard about it sooner?
It seems this was agreed as part of the 2016/17 GMS contract negotiations. The detail of the changes to the GMS contract for 2016/17 have only recently been published- see GMS contract changes 2016/17.