It is estimated that around 7,000 hours* of combined GP practice administrative and clinical time in Bury has been freed up to care for patients by implementing more efficient administration processes.
Thanks to a new programme known as Productive General Practice which is funded by NHS England, and co-ordinated in conjunction with NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Primary Care Team, GP practices in Bury have put in place more efficient administrative processes to avoid duplication, be better organised and work more innovatively.
In addition, the programme has seen clerical staff trained up to play a greater role within their practice, to direct patients to the most appropriate source of help and also handling paperwork such as repeat prescriptions to relieve the administrative burden on GPs, enabling them to free up capacity to care for patients.
In Bury 25 GP practices took part in the programme, which aims to respond to the opportunities and challenges identified within the General Practice Forward View – this is the national plan which aims to improve patient care and access to services whilst investing in new ways of providing care.
Facilitators buddied with local GP practices in a number of areas including: making the best use of administrative time; being a well organised practice; having efficient processes and managing emails, meetings and interruptions.
Some of the areas GP practices in Bury tackled included: reviewing repeat prescription processes; reorganising clinical space, store rooms (including saving money on stock by being better organised) and reception desks; reviewing administrative tasks and who in the team is most appropriate to undertake them and standardising administrative processes.
Feedback from the programme was that staff felt engaged and empowered, with many practices taking a whole team approach resulting in the upskilling of members of staff. As a result of the programme, practices became more receptive to change and importantly, felt confident in the successful implementation of change.
Dr. Jeffrey Schryer, local GP and Clinical Director for NHS Bury CCG said: “We saw this programme as a way of equipping our workforce, moving forward and transitioning to a better way of doing things. The programme brought our practices together and empowered receptionists to have a real handle on what is going on within their practice, putting them in a better position to influence the way things work.”
“It is estimated that by working more efficiently around a quarter of GP time could be put to better use, and we found that was the case with this programme. By releasing the time that GPs spend on administrative tasks, we are able to free up their time to care for patients and find opportunities to upskill other colleagues in key areas, meaning the whole practice is able to work more efficiently and ultimately is able to provide a better service.”
The next stage of the programme will have a closer focus on releasing time to care which is designed to support groups of practices to improve in key areas including looking at how to further develop teams and creating partnerships and collaborations with other practices and providers in the local health and social care system.