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This online Learning Network provides members with information and support around Quality Improvement (QI), an evidence-based approach that helps primary care free up time to deliver and evaluate initiatives, and embed new approaches more effectively and efficiently into practice.

QI helps us to make the most of our systems, organisations, talents and expertise to deliver better outcomes for patients.

Members have access to useful resources and case studies as well as opportunities to share learning from their experiences and make useful links with others interested in QI.

Whether you have been undertaking QI work for a while or just want to find out more, this network can support you in your journey and connect you to colleagues across the country who are working in innovative ways.

Membership is open to people working in GP practices and other organisations that support them. Register now to become a member of the Learning Network.

This network has been developed as part of the Royal College of General Practice’s Quality Improvement programme, led by two Clinical Lead’s Dr Mike Holmes and Dr Simon Stockill. If you have any questions about the programme please get in touch with the team at QI.Ready@rcgp.org.uk.

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College sets record straight on face to face appointments

Here is our full response to the patient survey on face to face appointments in today’s Daily Mail.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Throughout the pandemic general practice has remained open and GPs and our teams are working hard to care for both COVID and non-COVID patients.

“GPs are following Government guidance and have done everything they’ve needed to do to minimise the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of patients and frontline health professionals.

“We understand that some patients prefer the face to face personalised service that they are used to – and that many GPs also prefer this way of  consulting. However, the challenge of infection control isn’t going away and there has been a rapid rise in the number of people testing positive for COVID.

“When remote consultations have been unsuitable - such as for vaccinations or when a physical examination is required - face to face consultations have been arranged, and will continue to be. We know remote consultations suit some patients better than others, but generally we’ve found that patients have understood the changes and the rationale for them.

“Of course, the success of remote consultations relies heavily on robust technology which is why the College called on the Government at the start of the pandemic for a ‘remote care plan’ – including access to laptops, appropriate VPN connectivity and video consultations software - to ensure every GP practice has the necessary technology to effectively deliver remote services.

“As this survey points out, some patients have chosen not to access GP services during the pandemic due to concerns of overburdening NHS services or fears of contracting the virus. The College has consistently urged patients not to put off seeking GP advice for serious health concerns, such as suspected cancer symptoms. Whilst there was a temporary drop in demand for GP appointments at the peak of the pandemic, GP consultation rates are now back to near-normal levels, and the proportion of GP face to face consultations is significantly increasing.

“The College does not want to see general practice become a totally, or even mostly, remote service post-pandemic, but general practice and the wider NHS are now preparing for a serious second wave of COVID-19 and we must do everything we can to minimise the spread of the virus in order to keep patients safe and save lives.”

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