The Securing Excellence in Primary Care (GP) Digital Services operating model sets out how the use of GP Advanced Telephony systems will support flexible, responsive and integrated services for patients, giving them more control over their own healthcare.

The NHS is looking to assist practices, and their supporting CCGs, move away from the inflexibility of the many legacy systems currently in use by a significant proportion of practices by announcing a GP Advanced Telephony Specification Support Pack. The traditional box in the corner of the office cannot adapt to the changing needs of staff/patient communications and is unable to scale easily as patient numbers grow, or when practices merge to form GP Hubs and Federations, or across PCNs.

The arrival of the COVID pandemic in 2020 highlighted the need for substantial flexibility in primary care communications with GPs and staff needing to work from home during lockdown periods.

It is hoped CCGs will encourage practices to benefit from GP advanced telephony systems to improve practice efficiency and resilience and provide a better experience for patients, while also supporting practices with their technical issues such as IT infrastructure, networking and HSCN connections.

In addition to standard business telephony capabilities, the capability requirements of the GP Advanced Telephony specification include:

CapabilitySurgery Connect
GeneralAvailableOn RoadmapConsidering
Compliance with all GMS Contract, NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit, ISO 27001 and Ofcom regulationsYes
Secure access via IP from GP Practices or internet connected devicesYes
Wholly owned and operated by the provider without 3rd party components or databasesYes
Integration with the main Clinical SystemsYes
Existing phone number portingYes
Minimal installation business continuity impactYes
Partner with CCG contracted IT service providers to deliver IT support, network and infrastructure managementYes
Use dedicated data connection or HSCN connections for primary connectionYes
Telephony separated from IT network via dedicated IP address ranges for infrastructureYes
24/7 support during and after installationYes
Upgraded on-site cabling for fixed handsetsYes
At least 99.9% service availabilityYes
High quality audioYes
Clinical System Integration
TPP SystmOneYes
Integration independent of practice based infrastructureYes
Patient communication history attached to the patient recordYes
Standard GP telephony
Hunt GroupsYes
Fixed IP handsetsYes
External direct dial numbersYes
Practice directoryYes
Call recordingYes
User control interfacesYes
Configurable and timer controlled call flowsYes
In call functions such as hold, transfer, mute etcYes
Prompts, holding messages, menu options and musicYes
Call forwarding and call waitingYes
Handset conferencingYes
Practice caller IDYes
Advanced GP Telephony
Demand Capability:
Rules based re-routing, queue management etcYes
Configurable IVR for incoming call handlingYes
Queue position announcementYes
Unlimited call capacity and queuingYes
Independent outgoing call capacityYes
SMS outgoing integration with Clinical SystemsYes
Call-back optionYes
SMS call-backYes
Comprehensive call reports which meet national access reporting requirementsYes
Easily switch between handset, mobile and softphoneYes
Linking and logging incoming calls to the Clinical System patient recordsYes
Support patient self-serve including appointment booking, repeat prescriptionsYes
Support practice QoF data captureYes
Integration with NHS Mail, N365 and Microsoft TeamsYes
Business Continuity
Incoming call management and redirection within a practice and between multi-site practicesYes
Remote access to the systemYes
Fixed IP phone and softphone supportYes
Desktop App supportYes
Mobile App supportYes
Models of Primary Care
Multi-site full functionality, e.g. PCNsYes
Telephony shared with other local organisationsYes
Integrate with other IP telephony systemsYes
Remote integration and logging of outgoing calls to patients with Clinical SystemsYes
Single click switch from phone to video consultation using handset or softphoneYes
Image request during patient call and attached to their recordYes
Automatic fail over systemsYes
HSCN access approved with legacy N3 circuits not usedYes
Accessible via dedicated data network connectionYes
No impact on Clinical System performanceYes
Full remote working facility using HSCN or broadband via landline, mobile or softphone providing business continuityYes
POE enabled fixed IP handsetsYes
Operate within a VDI environmentYes
Data Security
Secure integration with practice infrastructureYes
Secure storage of patient identifiable data in a UK based data centreYes
Recorded calls stored at legally compliant standard for a minimum of 3 yearsYes
Meet GDPR, NHS Data and Security Protection Toolkit and GMS Contract security requirementsYes
Secure access to patient data for each practice within a multi-site practice, e.g. PCNsYes
Legally compliant Clinical System integrationYes
ISO 27001 for Information Security Management compliantYes
Efficient security issue processes and Business Continuity planYes
Cyber Essentials Plus accreditationYes
Dedicated HSCN connectionYes
Per extension licensing across multiple practicesYes
Connectivity costs includedYes
All component costs includedYes
Call cost savingsYes
Fair use policyYes
Charge individual practices and organisations using the same system separatelyYes
Free calls within practices and multi-site practices, e.g. PCNsYes
System updates are freeYes