General Practitioners: Telephone Services

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 26th January 2022.

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Photo of Damien Moore Damien Moore Conservative, Southport

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase call handling capacity at GP surgeries.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

In October 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement published, ‘Our plan for improving access for patients and supporting general practice’ which included a long-term measure to increase the adoption of cloud-based telephony across all practices. The benefits include additional capacity, more phone lines and automated queuing to support practices to improve call handling. We also announced a £250 million Winter Access Fund which can be used to fund extra administrative staff.

We have put in place interim arrangements to enable all practices to use Microsoft Teams telephone functionality for outbound calls, increasing capacity for incoming calls. This is at no additional cost to practices and is available until the end of April 2023.

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