To maximise the benefits and value for money of this fund, NHS England is providing a range of support for commissioners, primary care networks and individual practices.
Learning from exemplars
Over 300 practices in England are already offering online consultations to approximately three million patients. NHS England is already supporting the spread of best practice evidence and guidance about maximising benefits, based on the work of early exemplars. This will be expanded over the next year, to spread more examples of successful approaches and widen the scope to include learning from whole system approaches across leading CCGs and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships. CCGs will be expected to draw on the best practice out there already in developing and implementing plans.
Case studies and practical implementation guidance will continue to be shared nationally through NHS England’s website and local Time for Care showcase workshops. Additionally, regular feedback will be provided regarding uptake by practices and patients, to allow commissioners and practices to learn from the most successful areas.
Local support from NHS England
Advice is available from a number of sources to support commissioners and practices in selecting the most appropriate solution(s) and developing robust plans to realise the benefits of this opportunity.
The Patient Online team at NHS England has a network of locally-based implementation leads and digital clinical champions who are able to advise CCGs, primary care networks and practices on making the most of new digital initiatives including online consultations. For details of who to contact in your local area, please email the national office at email@example.com.
NHS England’s regional IT teams are already supporting CCG and Sustainability and Transformation Partnership leaders to develop plans for digital infrastructure and digitally enabled service transformation. System leaders are encouraged to liaise with regional leads in drawing up their plans for online consultations. Where CCGs and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships are interested in being early adopters for more integrated primary and urgent care models, regional IT teams will be able to connect them with the NHS England Digital Experience Team.
As part of the General Practice Forward View, NHS England local teams are able to advise CCGs, networks and practices on developing comprehensive practice development plans that make full use of the range of support available. Contact your local team for more information.
Supporting patient uptake
The experience of exemplars indicates that patients themselves have a significant influence in realising the benefits. Uptake by patients is increased by giving information about the new service and confidence in its relevance and value. Achieving this involves well planned communications and ongoing reinforcement by practice staff.
In 2017/18, part of the fund will be used by NHS England to produce standardised guidance and materials to support practices to engage and inform patients effectively. By doing it once, it will help to reduce the costs of local implementation. Local advice and support for CCGs and practices will also be available through the Patient Online team in each region. Further details will be announced in due course.
Service redesign support
The General Practice Forward View’s national general practice development programme provides support for groups of practices to implement changes that release time and improve care for patients. This wide-ranging and flexible programme is available to support groups of practices to implement changes that release time for care, such as online consultations, as well as to grow capabilities for leading change in local clinicians and managers.
To date, 92 groups of practices across 115 CCGs have engaged with the Time for Care programme. Information about hosting your own Time for Care programme or joining a capability-building programme is available on the NHS England website. These programmes are free for practices to access, and run until March 2019.
Experts from the hub will be hosting a series of webinars for commissioners, federations and practices, to introduce the principles for good practice and answer questions. Webinar details, dates and times will be published on our webinars section.
Contact details for the hub are: firstname.lastname@example.org