What should, and should not, be captured in the appointment book?
Examples of single appointments
Where a consultation mode changes during the interaction with the patient (e.g. a telephone consultation changes to video during the consultation), this will count as a single appointment.
Where a patient query/electronic consultation comes into the practice, is reviewed by a health or care professional, and is closed by a message exchange with the patient, this will count as a single appointment.
Where a health or care professional proactively contacts a patient to discuss an issue e.g. after reviewing their results, or to pro-actively check-in with a vulnerable patient, this will count as a single appointment.
Example of multiple appointments with the same patient
Where a patient query/electronic consultation comes into the practice and is reviewed by a health or care professional (e.g. the duty doctor) who then refers it to a health or care professional for action at a later time e.g. a telephone call to the patient, taken together these will be counted as two appointments.
Examples of appointments with multiple patients
If practices are working off a block or a list of appointment activity with multiple patients, including for example care home consultations as part of care home rounds, home visits or group appointments, each patient should be counted as a single appointment. So if there were six patients in a group appointment, this should be recorded as six appointments.
If a duty health or care professional is carrying out ‘instant’ assessments/triage when patients call, each patient who is transferred for an assessment should be given a dedicated slot in the appointment list; this can be in an untimed list if the practice is using one.
If a practice is using untimed lists for which more than one patient can be added, for example triage lists, then when each patient is provided with an untimed appointment, each patient should be provided with an individual appointment slot on the untimed list.