What comes into force in October 2017?


06 / 10 / 2017

Steps to drive forward improvements in emergency care and access to GPs feature among measures NHS organisations in England must implement from October 2017. 

View our summary of key changes taking effect this month and where you can find further information and guidance. 

We’ve also included information on a key change coming into force in May 2018 which board members are encouraged to start preparing for.

You can also access a comprehensive list of the measures that came into effect earlier this year.

 Emergency care Overseas visitors   Workforce
 General practice  Regulation  For your radar

Emergency care

Adopting good practice on patient flow

As directed in Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View, as of this month every hospital and its local health and social care partners must have adopted good practice to enable appropriate patient flow. 

This includes:

  • better and more timely hand-offs between A&E clinicians and acute physicians
  • ‘discharge to assess’ and ‘trusted assessor’ arrangements
  • streamlined continuing healthcare processes
  • seven-day discharge capabilities.
The measure is one of the key deliverables for 2017/18 and 2018/19 to improve urgent and emergency care. 

Find out more
Discover how it fits into wider efforts to improve urgent and emergency care in Next steps on the Five Year Forward View.  

To support trusts, NHS Improvement has developed a good practice guide on improving patient flow.

Find out more about whole-system flow in this NHS Voices post by Bryan Jones, improvement fellow at the Health Foundation.

Automated collection of daily SitReps

From this month, all NHS trusts will have their daily situation reports (SitRep) automatically collected by NHS Improvement, with the help of an innovative, automated data collection system.

The system provides trusts with up-to-date information about patient flow through A&E and will help them identify and make improvements to their systems, the head of NHS Improvement said in June 2017.

“It will also help [NHS Improvement] to provide targeted support to trusts during the winter period,” Jim Mackey added.

Find out more
Access full details from NHS Improvement’s website.

Rollout of new data set 

The Emergency Care Data Set (ECDS) will begin to be submitted as of this month, helping to provide a more accurate, detailed and comprehensive picture of all emergency attendances in England. 

The new data set, developed by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, NHS England, NHS Digital and partners, replaces the A&E Commissioning Data Set.

The October 2017 implementation is mandated in Type 1 and Type 2 emergency departments, and will be implemented in Type 3 and Type 4 departments by October 2018. 

According to NHS England, the new data set will:
  • improve patient care through better and more consistent information
  • allow better planning of healthcare services
  • improve communication between health professionals.
Find out more
Further information on the ECDS can be found on the NHS England website.

General practice

More convenient patient access to GP services

As of this month, GP practices which shut for half days each week will no longer be eligible for a share of the £88 million extended access scheme, under the terms of the new GP contract.

The move is one of the key measures identified to improve primary care in Next steps on the Five Year Forward View.

Find out more
Download Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View to discover more. 

Further detail is provided in this letter on GMS contract negotiations from NHS England’s director of commissioning.

Winter indemnity scheme launched

To help strengthen out-of-hours GP services during the winter, NHS England will run a winter indemnity scheme from 1 October 2017 until 2 April 2018, making £10 million available to help with immediate out-of-hours provision, such as shifts for NHS 111 services.

Find out more
Discover everything you need to know on NHS England’s website.

Overseas visitors 

Introducing upfront charging

From 23 October, NHS trusts will need to introduce upfront charging of overseas visitors for non-urgent care. The measure was legislated in the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Amendment) Regulations 2017.

23 October will also bring into scope charging of non-exempt patients by non-NHS providers of NHS-funded care and secondary and community care delivered outside a hospital setting.

Find out more

Read more about the regulations in this NHS Improvement bulletin.


Assessing adherence to the AIS

All Care Quality Commission inspection reports will now include how providers are applying the Accessible Information Standard (AIS).

All organisations that provide NHS care and/or publicly-funded adult social care were mandated to follow the standard in full from 1 August 2016.

The standard aims to ensure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information they can easily read or understand with support so they can communicate effectively with services, NHS England said in August 2016.

Find out more
Discover more in the CQC’s equality objectives for 2017-19

Rollout of changes to the Single Oversight Framework

The Care Quality Commission intends to publish the updated Single Oversight Framework in early October and will introduce the changes from October to December 2017.

The SOF, introduced in October 2016, is designed to help NHS Improvement identify where NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts may benefit from, or require, improvement support.

Changes to the framework were consulted on over summer 2017. 

Find out more

A summary of the changes can be found on NHS Improvement’s website.


Relieving pressures on doctors in training

To help tackle pressures on junior doctors, NHS Improvement will start to monitor trusts’ adherence to providing final rotas six weeks before doctors in training are due to start new rotations. 

The move is specified in the code of practice agreed by Health Education England, NHS Employers and the British Medical Association.

The measure forms part of steps, also outlined in Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View, to strengthen the NHS workforce.

Find out more
Download Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View to discover more.

For your radar

Changes to data protection legislation

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25 May 2018 and will be directly applicable as law in the UK. 

The legislation will introduce important changes in the law governing the management and use of patient data. 

Health and social care organisations are encouraged to read the Information Governance Alliance’s briefing note to help you prepare strategically and implement the necessary operational changes as advised by your information governance team.

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