New data intended to give patients a better view of how their general practice performing has been met with caution by senior care givers in Bolton.

The general practice data hub, which is available for the first time, was released last week with the aim of giving patients the opportunity make more informed choices on the GP practice they choose to visit.

The statistics, which cover all GP practices across England, are being made available to inform patients how many appointments each practice is delivering and on the length of time taken from booking an appointment to the appointment itself.

The busiest practice in the borough in October appears to have been Unsworth Group Practice, which dealt with a total of 9,865 appointments. Of these, 4,095 were dealt with on the same day, but 705 took more than 28 days.

The quietest practice was Charlotte Street Surgery which dealt with 1,134 appointments. A total of 562 of these were dealt with on the same day, and 14 took more than 28 days.

Dr Stephen Liversedge, clinical lead for primary care and health improvement at NHS Greater Manchester (Bolton), said: “We are committed to improving the public’s access to general practice and are delivering more same day appointments than ever before which includes virtual, online consultation and telephone appointments.

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“We always strive to meet the needs of our local population, providing choice on the type of appointment.

“If a patient needs a face-to-face appointment, they are often seen on the same day or a day of their choice.”

The data does show that GP practices are now delivering more appointments than before the pandemic, however it does comes with some limitations.

These figures do not make fully clear the performance of each practice, rather just how many appointments there have been in a month.

Ranking of practices purely based on appointment numbers would not be a fair or appropriate reflection of work carried out by general practice teams or patient experience.

The data also uses experimental statistics, meaning they are still in the testing phase and not yet fully developed.

They do not account for all appointments either – online appointments or those conducted out of ours, for example.

GP practices are also independent of each other and use differing systems of logging appointments.

For these reasons, the figures cannot be considered to be a complete view of general practice activity and should not be used to infer anything about workload or capacity.

The Greater Manchester Integrated Care Board are working with practices to ensure improved data capture to support this new platform and provide the right information to patients.

It also carries out its own access audit in Bolton twice a year, where it sends staff to every practice to analyse the number of appointments.

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