North Tyneside CCG has worked with stakeholders since the CCG’s inception to continuously improve the quality and access to the services it commissions.

A recurrent theme from the public has been in relation to access to GP practices; this has been picked up in the urgent and emergency care review, feedback in GP surveys (for some Practices), in the recent “Hear my Voice” narratives and also the Healthwatch North Tyneside review of Primary Care. People who have attended urgent and emergency care services for non-urgent reasons often cite “I couldn’t get an appointment with my GP” as the reason for attending urgent and emergency services.

The CCG has listened to patients and invested significantly in GP practices directly as well as in technology to support care delivery. This investment was to improve access, improve patient’s experience of care and improve the wellbeing of staff delivering the care.

There has never been a more crucial time to have enhanced GP and community capacity given the current Covid-19 pandemic and as we enter our busy winter period. The CCG recognised that a different complementary digital solution with additional GP capacity may help to improve access across 7 days a week, and release time for practices to focus on patients who need face to face appointments. It may also release pressure on the urgent and emergency care system. This has been discussed over the past year at the North Tyneside multi-agency “Future Care” Programme Board and also at the Primary Care Committee.Livi poster

The CCG therefore decided to commission Livi on a pilot basis to offer additional GP access. Patients have also been directly involved, via the Patient Forum, in the process of commissioning Livi.

Livi is a digital application that enables patients to rapidly book directly and see a GP by video appointment on a mobile phone or tablet. Whilst Livi brings the technology, more importantly, it also brings additional GP capacity to respond to patient’s needs. This new application will support the North Tyneside health economy to offer additional capacity within the system, providing GP appointments during the day and also in evenings, weekends and on Bank Holidays.

Livi provides the additional GP capacity and for patients who choose to use the service which works as an extension to the GP practice. Patients have to consent for the Livi GPs to access their records. If patients do not give their consent, they cannot be seen by the Livi GP. All consultations by Livi are recorded in the patients GP record. In the event the GP assessment identifies that a patient needs to be seen face to face by a GP, this is communicated to the Practice. Similarly, where a patient requires diagnostics, e.g.  a blood test, this is also communicated to the Practice and the Practice will undertake those diagnostics. Livi GPs follow the same clinical protocols as all NT GPs and can refer to other services, prescribe and provide fit notes.

This is a complementary GP service for North Tyneside residents and patients will remain on their GP practice list. The triage element of the app is very clear about the type of ailments and conditions which it can deal with.

This new approach to improving patient access and choice is a 12 month pilot and we will work with our stakeholders to evaluate the impact of the service before making a decision whether to continue, change or stop the service.

You may have seen and read a number of things about this service and the approach North Tyneside CCG has taken to get to this stage of implementation. We thought it would be helpful to develop a fact sheet which can help to dispel some of the myths and ensure that the public have the correct information.


Is the CCG privatising the NHS?

It is important to understand the nature of our commissioning contracts. We commission a variety of providers in the same way as all public sector organisations do, including Local Authorities. These take several forms including:
Direct public sector contracts, such as contracts between the CCG and NHS Foundation Trusts, Ambulance Services, Fire Services.

Independent contracts such as contracts with GP practices

Private organisations, such as out of hours GP services (VOCARE Ltd), Tynehealth Ltd (GP Federation) Care Homes, Domiciliary Providers, Ramsey Treatment Centre, Nuffield Healthcare, GP IT services as well as the community and voluntary sector. Without the independent, private sector and the community and voluntary the NHS system would not function.

The NHS is free to patients at the point of delivery.

Has the CCG done this without consultation?

The CCG has worked with patients, partners and stakeholders in relation to piloting this service and this has been communicated in a range of forums. This has included the Patient Forum, Community Health Care Forum, Healthwatch North Tyneside , North Tyneside GPs, LMC, VODA, local Hospital Trusts and North Tyneside Local Authority Officers.

Why didn’t the CCG inform the Adult Social Care Health & Wellbeing Sub-Committee?

The CCG is happy to discuss the Livi pilot with the Sub-Committee members. Ordinarily, we would discuss healthcare service developments with the Adult Social Care Health & Wellbeing Sub-Committee where there is a major change to an existing service. In this instance we are neither stopping nor changing an existing service. This is an additional new service.

Patients have a choice to use this service or not and this is a 12 month pilot which will be evaluated throughout.

Why didn’t the CCG write to elected members and the Officers in the council to tell them about Livi?

The CCG wrote to senior elected members and the CEO of the Council with information about the Livi pilot on the 31st July 2020. Local Authority officers have been engaged in ongoing discussions at the Future Care Programme Board over the last 9 months.

Why is tax payers money going to a private company in Sweden?

The contract with Livi is with Digital Medical Supply UK Limited (Livi) a UK Company.

The parent company is Swedish and the technology and subsequent infrastructure has come from Sweden but this no different to a lot of IT and clinical solutions used throughout the NHS such as Cerner (US) or Roche (Swiss).

Do patients have a choice about accessing Livi?

Yes. Using Livi consultations is entirely down to patient choice. To use Livi patients need to download the app and register and also give their consent for the Livi GP to access their patient record.

Patients can still access their GP in the usual way if they want to do so; Livi offers an alternative way to see a GP.

Will patients records be shared with Livi without their consent?

No. Livi has not been given access to any patient records without the patient’s consent.

Can patients be seen by a Livi GP if they don’t want their GP to know?

It is not possible to be seen without the patient’s GP practice knowing. Livi GPs are an extension to patient’s GP service and if they want to be seen, they must give consent for the Livi GP to access their record and document their consultation in their GP record.

Can patients be seen by a Livi GP without the Livi GP being given access to their GP record?

No. Patients cannot be seen without giving consent to access their record in order to ensure continuity of care and is important for patient safety.

What happens if patients who have used (or would like to use) Livi experience problems with it?

The Livi service is a pilot therefore there may be some teething problems which will be rapidly responded to as issues emerge. All patients are asked to rate their experience and give feedback. The CCG also receives feedback via the CCG website which we also respond to.

Are Practices forcing patients to use Livi as a triage tool before they get an appointment?

GP practices are using a triage system to prioritise how best to respond to patients eg, telephone appointment, video consultation or a face to face appointment.

Livi is not one of these systems.

Is this just another fad?

Using technology to support patient care delivery is a national priority for the NHS as described in the NHS Long Term Plan. By 2021, all practices are required to offer videoconferencing appointments, telephone consultations and face to face appointments in order to respond in the best way to patients’ needs.

Does Livi just send patients back to their GP?

The current patient feedback score suggests otherwise and has been very positive.

There will be occasions where patients need further investigations such as diagnostic tests, or after speaking to a Livi GP, need to be seen face to face in their GP practice or another setting if this is identified by the GP.

Why can’t GP practices and pharmacists do this instead: we don’t need Livi?

Feedback from both patients and GP practices suggests that extra capacity within the system would be welcomed. Livi offers additional day time GP appointments as well as evening, weekend and Bank Holiday GP appointments.   We could not offer this extra capacity and greater access just using the same GPs and Pharmacists that we currently use as they do not have enough capacity to do this themselves.

Is information taken by Livi secure?

During patients consultations, the Livi GP will document in patients own medical record. There is not a different record.

All of the North Tyneside GP Practices have signed up to the stringent data governance arrangements. Through data sharing agreements and patient consent, Livi has access to the patient record. Continuity of care is therefore maintained and the integrity of the patient record remains with patients not having to repeat their story.

Does Livi ‘sell on’ my data to other private companies?

No. Livi does not sell on any patient data and the way they access and use patient data is subject to the same rules and oversight as local practices.

Adult Social Care, Health and Wellbeing Sub-Committee met on Thursday 11th February 2021, 6pm.  The CCG’s response to the sub-committee discussions are detailed below.

CCG’s response to Health Wellbeing Sub Committee Feb 21 re Livi

Patient Feedback

Week commencing 10/08/20

Fantastic service and advice from doctor. Highly appreciated – many thanks
Score: 5 star

Very simple and fast alternative to booking GP appointment. Thoroughly recommend
Score: 5 star

Excellent Doctor. Great advice. First time Livi user. Very impressed!!
Score: 5 star

Great to speak to a GP at the weekend and without having to declare medical problems to reception.
Score: 5 star

The future of healthcare
Score: 5 star

Wow excellent service saved me so much time and hassle as its often hard to get an appointment with my GP. Using this app has also helped me get treatment quickly so i’m not in pain for so long.
Score: 5 star

Week commencing 17/08/20

A great tool if you’re at work rather than taking a day off to see your doctor
Score: 5 star

Felt very comfortable discussing problem and feel like I have been helped
Score: 5 star

I thin that using Livi is the best way to resolve health problems whenever possible. Hence that leaves the personal face-2-face appointment available for those more serious cases. I am delighted with the service Livi provides.
Score: 5 star

Absolutely fantastic service, helpful, effective and super convenient not having to go to the surgery. Thank you
Score: 5 star

I used Livi because since lockdown I have been working from a home located far from my GP surgery and i don’t drive a car
Score: 5 star

Brilliant service – helped while I am away from home. Thank you
Score: 5 star

Excellent in every way
Score: 5 star

Week commencing 24/08/20

Impressed. I liked the fact you get a rough time when the doctor will ring and she was very good
Score: 5 star

Again the service was fantastic. I really rate this. The doctor was efficient and very helpful. Thank you
Score: 5 star

Thank you so much for your help today. I am new to this modern technology but it was easier than I thought it would be.
Score: 5 star

Good quick efficient service. Thank you. From registration to consultation 30 minutes
Score: 5 star

Lovely and professional help, restored my hope to get better. Thank you
Score: 5 star

Very straightforward. I was pleasantly surprised as I am not good at making conversation by video. Will definitely use again if necessary.
Score: 5 star

Very helpful when unable to visit GP
Score: 5 star

Week commencing 07/09/20

First time user. Impressed with how quick the service was. Thank you
Score: 5 star

It makes life easy for me. Even if I am at work I can talk to a doctor.
Score: 5 star

The GP made a hard discussion easier to discuss. I am grateful for this, thank you.
Score: 5 star

Doctor was wonderful, very friendly and supportive. Did a lot more than I imagined possible through a video appointment. Good connection throughout the appointment, thank you.
Score: 5 star

Week commencing 14/09/20

Fantastic service. Nice and quick. Easy to use and GP was super smiley and lovely and very informative.
Score: 5 star

Very good experience. Can’t thank the GP enough.
Score: 5 star

So grateful for this service and so efficient.
Score: 5 star

Excellent consultation. Very friendly GP. Highly recommended. Many thanks.
Score: 5 star