GPs say new simplified NHS 111 summary “adds nothing”

20 January 2014

GPs say new simplified NHS 111 summary “adds nothing”

A new-look NHS 111 summary that is being sent to GP practices this month has been criticised by the doctors themselves, who have slammed the summaries as not being streamlined enough with the overriding risk that they may be overlooking important information.

The new versions of the NHS 111 summary-or Post Event Messages (PEMs)-were sent to surgeries by NHS England earlier this month. Yet GPs at surgeries are finding little improvement in the new versions from the older summaries, which were often criticised as being overlong and difficult to read.

NHS England rolled out the new simplified PEMs in the hope that headings would be clear to clarify clinical outcomes GPs. For example, the new summary has different headings distinguishing primary from secondary messages alongside appropriate summaries.

A spokesperson said: ‘There have been two complaints about PEMs first, is the layout and content, the second is that GPs have always received a message from out of hours after a contact and now they receive this and a PEM from 111 when patients are referred to OOH.

‘NHS England has agreed that this duplication is unnecessary. So, when a patient is referred electronically to GP OOH by 111 the PEM can be ‘supressed’ by 111 i.e. it isn’t sent - this is important because it vastly reduces the number of PEMs a GP has to wade through each day.’

However the usefulness of the new-style summary has been slammed by the GPC negotiator who leads on NHS 111, Dr Peter Holden, who described it as a development that “adds nothing”.

Dr Holden said: ‘Any fool can send me all the information about a patient – that’s just overload. What I want to know is what the concern is so I can look into it. I have not seen any change to the closely-typed, old-fashioned, printed, difficult-to-read summaries.’

He added that he had suggested the summaries include ‘GP action box’ to highlight what practices should be doing.

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