24 April 2019

Newham programme that frees up GPs’ time for clinical care gets national roll out

A quality improvement programme for GPs piloted in Newham and supported by UCLPartners is now set to be rolled out across the country by NHS England.

The Time for Care programme supports surgeries across the country to adopt new ways of working such as letting patients book appointments sooner, cutting paperwork and offering faster access to different specialist health professionals.

The programme, piloted in several sites across the country including 51 Newham GP practices, has enabled GP practices to free up 205,157 clinical hours and 330,096 administration hours in the past year, all of which helps focus effort and resource on quick and convenient patient care.

Supported by UCLPartners, NHS England’s Sustainable Improvement Team were able to tailor and develop the Time for Care programme to address local needs in Newham and engender a learning environment where collaborative working was embraced.

Several GP practices in the borough saw dramatic changes as a result of participating in the programme. Notably:

  • Star Lane Medical Centre cut paperwork going unnecessarily to GPs by 62%
  • Glen Road Medical centre reduced the GP postbag by 65%, leading to more timely responses and better patient care.
  • Wordsworth Health Centre reduced the number of paper-based documents sent to GPs which released 2.5 hours of GP time per week
  • Vicarage Lane focused on ensuring 100% of all discharge summaries sent to the practice included medicine reconciliation releasing 7.5 hours of medical secretaries’ time per week

The programme will now be rolled out across the country by NHS England and has been extended for three years, aiming to cover three quarters of GP practices by 2022.

Dr Zenobia Sheikh, UCLPartners’ GP Quality Improvement Lead who has worked closely with each practice, supporting them to make changes, said: “At individual level we have seen lots of personal growth, staff have not only learnt about quality improvement, but we’ve also seen confidence and facilitation skills grow across the workforce.”

Dr B Sathyajith, a GP at The Shrewsbury Centre in Newham said: “The programme has been a platform for many of us embarking on a lifetime of quality improvement projects.  The journey has been very special to take part alongside colleagues from Newham, including clinical and non-clinical staff who were willing to share their projects with the whole group.  Networking and collaborating with like-minded colleagues to share ideas and tips has been the highlight of the programme.”

Read more about this work in Newham