• NHS’ central data sets are “not sophisticated enough” to identify all vulnerable and high-risk patients, NHSE/I have said
  • New covid-19 measures for patients considered high-risk have been brought in by government
  • NHS trusts and GP practices have been asked to identify and contact vulnerable patients on their caseloads and lists as part of the plans

Trusts and GPs are being asked to help identify patients at high risk from coronavirus because the NHS’ central data sets are “not sophisticated enough” to track all vulnerable groups, NHS England has said.

NHSE and NHS Improvement have written to trusts and GPs asking them to help identify at risk and vulnerable patient groups due to limitations in the national data sets. The news comes as the government advises all high-risk patients to take stricter isolation measures for the next 12 weeks.

In a letter to all GPs, national director for primary care Nikita Kanani said: “Central data sets are not sophisticated enough to identify all categories of patients who should be included in the vulnerable groups list.

“We are grateful for the help of colleagues in the medical royal colleges and societies who are cascading guidance to secondary care to help them identify other high-risk patients from their caseload.

“We appreciate this is a complex task requiring difficult judgements, and we ask for your help, as the GP central to the care of these patients, in achieving this.”

GPs were also told their system suppliers have added an “at risk indicator code” to the records of all patients who have so far been contacted and identified.

In addition, GP IT suppliers will be providing practices with a report of patients who have been centrally identified and practices have been asked to review these reports.

The royal colleges have been drafted in to help disseminate guidance for secondary and primary care specialists. The Royal College of Physicians, for example, will be providing secondary care specialists with guidance on the identification of patients on immunosuppression therapies as NHSE is unable to identify this group from central data sets which “do not reliably code patients taking biologics”.

Meanwhile, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has issued updated guidance on the prioritisation of patients being treated in intensive care.