Useful links

I am collecting links that I use frequently or need quickly (see menu), to make it easier to re-find them during/between consultations.

The list so far (following suggestions from local GPs – thank you):


Let me know of others you think I should add.


We’re using Ardens at Woodingdean Medical Centre.

We were recently asked to register an additional 1500 patients (and expand the team), following the closure of a nearby practice.

Having Ardens tools helped us focus on the task at hand, rather than the tools.

We signed up initally for the 3 month trial (took 1 hour to configure) and are planning to continue with the paid version for the foreseeable future.

The whole practice team evaluated, all were really keen for us to keep Ardens, which we have.

Easy access for GPs, nurses and HCA to excellent templates, resources and especially the structured prescribing formularies.

We don’t use the templates with every consultation (watch their videos for now, we’re going to do a few videos showing how we actually use it in Woodingdean).

We find the clinical (and QoF) templates, prescribing formularies, patients leaflets, diaries, links to CKS and searches the most useful.

The prescribing templates are an excellent resource and educational tool.

Great to know the whole team have access to consistent templates (to supplement the local ones) and this saves us weeks of time making our own and keeping them uptodate.

My recommendation/call to action:

 In April, sign up for the 3 month trial and then makeupyourownmind (btw we do not get anything for this recommendation).

If you love it too, then ask the CCG to support it.

EMIS can get their own tools (I understand QMasters do some stuff, but I’m not upto speed with EMIS any more).


Cancer & planned care pathways – what happens in hospital?

Again, this is a quick sketch to raise some questions, so forgive the accuracy…

These questions could apply to any pathway and any Acute Trust, but I’m starting with Cancer.


  • I want to know more about what happens in hospital once you are referred?
  • I suspect that too much depends on bits of paper or disconnected systems.
  • I suspect the system is not how the staff or patients would like it.
  • How can we help?

Cancer consultationCancer notes  Cancer referralCancer referral to blackholeCancer - what's happening?

The Local Digital Roadmap should help Hospitals on the way to being Paperless.
In old money the five key elements (the ‘Clinical 5’) for secondary care were:
■ a patient administration system with integration with other systems and sophisticated reporting;
■ ordercommunications and diagnostics reporting (including all pathology and radiology tests and tests ordered in primarycare);
■ letters with coding (discharge summaries, clinic and Accident and Emergency letters);
■ scheduling (for beds, tests, theatres, etc); and
■ e-prescribing (including ‘ToTakeOut’  medicines).

Some of this is happening, some on the way, some I am unclear on, but I believe needs improving.

  • How do we systematically look at every step of the pathways, and understand what would be helped by better systems.
  • How do we empower patients and carers to track their appointments and not miss important ones, and to have the information and support that they need.  This issue is more a feature of non-cancer pathways, but I have patients regularly tell me that they have been informed that they Did Not Attend (DNA’d) an appointment that they did not know about.  This is a waste for everyone.  I understand that the appointments system is being/has been improved, so hopefully more detail to follow soon.
  • How are we improving the intelligence of the system, eg. How do we know how much capacity we need and where the bottlenecks are?  How do we track patients, diagnostics or histology samples? How do we get the diagnostics results safely and electronically to the requesting clinicians, and how timely and safe is this?


With the help of colleagues and patients, I would like to add more detail to the above picture soon…

UPDATE 30.10.16:  Rough sketch of just some of the opportunities to improve care.  Where better processes, I.T. & citizens/people/patients/carers can help and where paper needs to move to electronic.

Planned care pathway

Just a few ideas (below) where we could improve (with contributons from Jason and Manas, especially the idea of offering SCRAI to patients at the point of referral).

I know some of the ideas below are underway, but may need some support.  I know there’s a lot I have not mentioned and this needs describing.

The NHS is based on treating need, so this is an opportunity for (and needs to be done in a way, that allows) those more able and the system, to help those less able and with more need (while supporting themselves and the system).

Also there is much treacle to get through to share information between parts of the NHS & Social Care.  If we give it to the patients (while we continue to improve the relevant NHS/Social Care interoperabilty) they will arrive at their appointments better informed with mor tools at their disposal.

Planned care pathway with patient empowerment

We are working on the GP referral letter and Hospital communications.  We know that improved clarity especially on Urgency, Specialty, reason for referral help the patient and the system.  We know there’s great variablity in Hospital letters.

Also making best use of the systems, where accurate information is recorded, this can be used to create more accurate letters.  The coloured text in the drafts below, will disappear as these are tags for the data to auto-populate from the GP system.

DRAFT GP Referral minimum dataset:

Referral letter template - DRAFT MINIMUM DATASET v1 27.10Referral letter template - DRAFT MINIMUM DATASET v1 27.10 p2Referral letter template - DRAFT MINIMUM DATASET v1 27.10 p3

DRAFT Out-patient letter template:

OPD letter DRAFT - V1 - 27.10

I am keen to extend the use of patient portals/PHRs (patient held records).

Some seem more Primary/Community care and others more Secondary Care oriented.

I am sure each has their particular use and benefit.

The Digitial NHS site has some useful information, so worth a read. The Digital Primary Care page has the 2016-18 GPIT operating model, p145 Appendix 4  Digital Maturity Assessment ref 100 “Patients can record their personal health data which is accessible online by the GP.  Patients and GPs can online, collaboratively set goals and care outcomes and track progress against these”.

The Nuffield report “Digital requirements for new primary care models” also mentions patient tools.


My Life Website

Supporting people with everyday living

The new My Life directory is here!
Produced in partnership between the City Council and NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) My Life is part of the ongoing Better Care programme integrating health and adult social care.

My Life is an easy-to-use, online directory listing local Brighton & Hove and national organisations and services that support everyday living, helping people to stay healthy, happy, and as independent as possible.
Its features include:
Helpful search facility
up to date content
clear feedback facility
there’s a ‘get listed’ facility where organisations not on the site can easily request to be listed
crisis support services easily accessible from the home page
save to shortlist function and direct email from this

Save the page to your favourites on your web browser, and direct public queries around health, care and support to My Life. For information on the My Life portal, or if you would like My Life leaflets, flyers or posters, please  contact MyLifeBrighton&

Cancer decision support (eCDS) tools

“The tools are an aid to clinical decision making. They assist GPs when deciding whether to refer or request further diagnostic investigation in patients where they believe there is a risk of cancer. The tools display the risk of a patient having a specific type of cancer.”

Link to the Macmillan page on this.

How many of us are using it via the GP systems locally?

How have you found it in practice?

Let me know here.

Link to Software integration update (Oct 2015).

Further update 29.04.16:

“…regarding Macmillan’s CDS tool…  we have now successfully integrated the CDS tool in to EMIS and Vision and we are currently working with TPP SystmOne to develop an integrated version of the tool. At present, the CDS tool is therefore unavailable to TPP users, however I would be more than happy to add you to our development mailing list [added] to ensure that you are notified of any developments in this area.

In terms of Emis, the QCancer tool will be available in V.5.9 to all Emis practices in England from next week. This is an integrated version of the original CDS tool and uses Julia Hippisley-Cox’s QCancer algorithm to produce prompts for any patients with a site-specific risk score of 2% or more, as well as a cumulative cancer risk score of 5% or more. The QCancer tool covers 12 tumour sites. The symptom checker function can be found under the templates section of the Emis Web homepage and to receive the risk prompts you will need to activate the protocol which can be done through the Emis Library. For more information please visit the QCancer section of the Emis Support Centre...”

Suspected cancer: recognition and referral: NICE guidelines [NG12]

Published date:

1 Recommendations organised by site of cancer

link to Macmillan’s rapid referral guidelines.

Digital requirements for new primary care models

A briefing for clinicians and managers
Sophie Castle-Clarke, Stephanie Kumpunen, Sílvia Machaqueiro,
Natasha Curry, Candace Imison
April 2016
 Jumping to the conclusions…
“5. Conclusions

…Given the way in which primary care is evolving, we suggest that three technologies should be prioritised locally and nationally:

• Shared electronic health records (supported by sound interoperability and
information governance mechanisms) to facilitate coordinated care
• Telehealth solutions to improve patient access to services and professional access to
specialist expertise
• Patient tools and resources such as portals which facilitate booking appointments
online and access to records, information and advice.
Where organisations are working at scale, integrated back-end solutions are also likely
to be important in realising efficiencies…”

Link to the document at the Nuffield Trust.

Access full report here.