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Overview of GP contract 24/25: the non-financial elements

by Rima Evans
29 February 2024

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The new GP contract will ‘explicitly require’ practices to consider continuity of care when a patient makes contact.

NHS England yesterday announced changes to the GP contract for 2024/25, which include a 2.2% core funding uplift, worth £259m.

A letter sent from Dr Amanda Doyle, national director for primary care and community services at NHS England, said: ‘In order to highlight the importance of continuity of care, whilst ensuring practices have flexibility to deliver services to best meet the needs of their patient population, the provisions in the GP Contract Regulations will be amended to explicitly require continuity of care to be considered when determining the appropriate response when a patient contacts their practice.’

More detailed guidance on the continuity requirements are to be published ‘in the coming weeks’.

Other non-financial changes to the contract include:

1.Practices having to provide data from digital telephone systems, from October 2024. The data required focuses on eight metrics: call volumes; calls abandoned; call times to answer; missed call volumes; wait time before call abandoned ; call backs requested; call backs made; and average call length time.

The data will be used by PCNs, ICBs and NHS England to provide better insight into patient demand and access trends, which can feed into local commissioning decisions and so there is improved understanding of pressures on general practice, the Government has said.

2.Practices having to adopt the new online Register with a GP surgery service but also continue to offer a paper-based service. Both formats will need to be in place by October 2024.

3. Practices being required to ‘reproduce a digital copy of their practice boundary’. They will have to use digital tools provided by NHS England and will also be required ‘to review and where necessary update GP practice boundaries where data quality is insufficient for the intended purpose’.

A digital copy of a practice’s catchment area will also be required where a new practice is established or merged or a catchment area change is agreed.

4. Updates to vaccination and immunisation data recording. SNOMED codes used for vaccination event recording will be rationalised following an ‘impact assessment’ carried out by NHS England. This is to help ensure practices are using the relevant codes within their clinical system templates and improve data quality.

Practices will have to share vaccination status (both vaccinated and non-vaccinated) with local Child Health Information Services (CHIS), and any other system nationally required. They will also have to improve data recording of vaccination status for all patients, including where they have arrived from overseas and where there is an unknown or incomplete history, so they can offer vaccinations in line with the UK Schedule and Green Book. Finally, practices will be contractually obliged to maintain accurate and up-to-date patient vaccination records.

5. Practices and PCNs being required to submit workforce data on a quarterly basis. Reporting will be to ‘the National Workforce Reporting Service (NWRS) via changes to the GP contract and the Network Contract DES’.

6. Caring for Armed Forces veterans. The new contract will set out that surgeries must have ‘due regard for the requirements, needs and circumstances of Armed Forces Veterans when offering services and making onward referrals’.