Primary care improvement community

The primary care improvement community has over 10,000 members and growing. It is a virtual community for all who work in and around general practice and primary care across England, and are involved in facilitating innovation, improvement and transformation. This spreads good ideas more quickly, helping to accelerate local change and support change leaders in sustaining progress and their own resilience.

To join the community please sign up to: Connect – our online space on FutureNHS or contact the Primary Care Transformation team.

Digital primary care community

The Digital Primary Care FutureNHS site provides a platform for NHS colleagues working within digital primary care to come together and share experiences, learning and resources. Joining the network gives you access to an online hub of resources, guidance and case studies to support digital transformation of primary care services. With more than 5,000 members it also provides a great opportunity to share issues, questions and solutions with colleagues through online discussions.

Creating highly usable and accessible GP websites for patients

This guidance is for practice managers, PCNs, integrated care systems (ICSs), GP federations and anyone who is looking for guidance for improving general practice (GP) websites.

There are multiple benefits to creating a highly accessible and usable GP website. It will:

  • Improve patient satisfaction and experience of using the GP practice, making it more likely they will return and use digital tools.
  • Ensure patients are signposted to the correct place for their needs, reducing wasted patient and practice time.
  • Reduce the risk of adding digital inequalities to existing health inequalities.
  • Remove access barriers for patients with disabilities and make your website legally compliant.
  • Create a place where patients can effectively self-serve, thereby:
    • reducing the burden on receptionists and clinical staff
    • empowering patients to manage their health and care.
  • Creating highly usable and accessible GP websites for patients
  • Read our research in full on the FutureNHS platform (requires a log in).

GP website benchmarking and improvement tool

The GP website benchmarking and improvement tool has been developed to support integrated care systems (ICSs), primary care networks (PCNs) and general practice teams to audit the usability of key patient web journeys. The tool provides a deeper understanding as to whether a GP website meets a high standard of usability along with contractual requirements laid out in the GS contracts and other requirements of practices.

You can use the tool to:

  • create a checklist of improvements needed.
  • identify which elements for improvement are usually the responsibility of the website supplier or the practice.
  • audit a site before and after usability changes are made to measure improvements.
  • compare the usability of two or more sites.

Administrative triage using digital tools in general practice

The administrative triage using digital tools in general practice elearning module has been designed to support general practice administrative staff to design their practice workflow in sorting, signposting and delivering administrative triage with the aim of supporting an inclusive approach to managing demand and workload.

Consisting of nine modules, it has been developed in collaboration with the Practice Managers Association.

Using online consultations in primary care – implementation toolkit

The online consultations implementation toolkit has been developed to support practices, clinicians, commissioners and PCNs with the successful adoption of online consultations and the seamless integration of these alongside face-to-face and other services.

There is both a full version of the toolkit for those who are leading these projects and a shortened version, particularly aimed at GPs and other practice staff. The toolkit is an interactive and provides a range of ideas and options for different professionals, including clinicians, at different points in their implementation journey. As a result, those using the toolkit are encouraged to jump through to the sections most relevant to their role or organisation.

Digital requirements guidance

The five-year framework for GP contract reform published to implement The NHS Long Term Plan, introduced a bold set of commitments related to digital services in general practice, agreed by NHS England and the British Medical Association (BMA).

These commitments are being introduced gradually every year through the GP contract since 2019-2020, and by now all GP practices should, among other requirements:

  • have an online presence, such as a website, and an GP profile page, both of which they keep up to date
  • no longer use fax machines for NHS communications
  • offer all patients online access to their GP medical record
  • offer and promote to their patients, and those acting on their behalf, access to an online consultation tool, which enables patients to contact the practice online
  • offer and promote video consultations to their patients as an option for receiving care where appropriate.

More recently, many of these patient-facing digital requirements are presented as part of a ‘core digital offer’ – see annex C of the GP contract letter published on 21 January 2021.

Case studies

We are committed to sharing best practice to support the implementation of digital solutions within primary care. We have compiled a range of case studies from GP practices, PCNs and ICSs across England, all of which vary in location, size, system supplier, technology type, demographics and deprivation levels.