GP contract in England
Following the vote to accept the changes to the GP contract in England for 2020-21, we will be presenting the contract details to GPs and LMCs at a series of contract roadshow events across England over the coming month. The current list of events is available here. In addition a number of LMCs have also arranged some local events.
The King’s Fund have produced a summary of the contract changes which can be read here.
As a result of further discussions we have had with NHSEI, they have sent a letter to commissioners about the PCN Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme, which states "NHS England encourages commissioners to use unspent entitlement to enable PCNs to recruit now to any of the ten roles which will be included in the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme from 1 April 2020" and "commissioners are encouraged to reimburse any new appointments from 17 February at 100% of salary and employer ‘on-costs’, up to the maximum reimbursable amounts for each role, as set out in Table 1 of the GP contract update, with a view to these workforce roles then becoming eligible for reimbursement under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme from 1 April 2020 without any change to their terms and conditions. Commissioners may also use this unspent funding to support PCN recruitment exercises. "
Special Conference of English LMCs
The deadline to register and submit motions for the special conference of English LMCs in London on 11 March, to discuss the outcome of negotiations and the contract agreement, has now passed. The Agenda Committee will now work on preparing an agenda for the conference and publish it shortly.
LMC UK Conference 2020
The deadline to register for the conference and dinner, should be done by no later than Friday 27 March, using this link: https://events.bma.org.uk/uk-lmc-conference-2020/registration
Coronavirus (COVID-19) update
The containment of COVID-19 remains of major concern and we are monitoring the situation and will continue to disseminate information as it becomes available.
Our webpage is regularly updated with guidance and links to information from Public Health England, Health Protection Scotland, Public Health Wales and Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland), and the Department of Health and Social Care. Our webpage includes a link to the PHE guidance for primary care which was updated today, posters for practices and guidance by the RCGP (including practice action cards). The updated PHE guidance advises that the patient should be isolated and to call 111 directly, rather than there being an expectation that the GP does this. NHS England also distributed the attached briefing for primary care providers earlier this week.
I also wrote to the NHS England about coronavirus emergency planning, including the feasibility of an online booking suspension and procurement challenges such as the cost of supplies and equipment. We would encourage all practices to continue to follow current advice from PHE, and for anyone who suspects they might be at risk of having the virus, or has developed symptoms, to call NHS 111.
IR35 guidance for locum GPs
We have updated all our employment status (IR35) guidance into one easy-to-read document so that locum GPs have all the information they need to be confident in determining their employment status. Read more in a blog by Matt Mayer, deputy chair of the GP Sessional GP committee
Patients encouraged to get MMR vaccine after UK mumps outbreak
I was interviewed by LBC last Friday about the importance of MMR vaccines, following the news reports about a surge in mumps cases in the UK. I said that while the BMA is against mandatory vaccination, it’s essential that people are encouraged to get their jabs.
NHS 111 Data Sharing Agreements
We understand practices are still being approached by NHS111 providers to sign Data Sharing Agreements in order for NHS 111 staff to book GP appointments directly. Our advice stands that a DSA is not necessary for the purposes of assigning an appointment only as it does not require access to the patient’s medical record.
NHS Digital and the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) consultation
NHS Digital and the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) have launched a consultation as part of the next phase of a programme to align private healthcare data with NHS recorded activity. The consultation sets out a series of changes to how data is recorded and managed across private and NHS care, along with a series of pilot projects, based upon feedback from a variety of stakeholders. The consultation, which has been launched following the publication of the Paterson Inquiry, is hosted on the NHS Digital Consultation Hub.
The deadline to submit the NHS Pension Scheme end of year Type 1 medical practitioner (GP Provider) certificate or the Type 2 medical practitioner (salaried GP) self-assessment form for year 2018/19 is Saturday 29th February 2020. These need to be submitted to Primary Care Support England in accordance with the statutory NHS Pension Scheme Regulations. You can access all GP pension forms using this link
GP Online and Pensions Age reported that there are still concerns over the ongoing pensions crisis, in particular about how a stop-gap offer from NHS England to pay off pension tax bills for 2019/20 will apply to general practice. I responded that "the situation needs urgently addressing as it greatly impacts on GPs being able to manage not just their pension but their wider finances. It’s therefore understandable that, without this clarity, GPs will be hesitant to commit to extra work this year that could risk triggering significant annual allowance charges…we are therefore continuing to push NHS England and NHS Improvement to take the necessary urgent action to resolve this important issue."
GP streaming service in A&E
Pulse reported that the government in England is planning to expand GP streaming services in A&E departments after claiming that it reduced pressure on urgent care services. Krishna Kasaraneni, GPC England executive lead for workforce, said: “One of the key solutions to addressing the pressures on access to services in the NHS is to invest in expanding the primary care teams in GP practices. With investment to increase the number of GPs and allied health care professionals, the care provided to patients in general practice will continue to improve. This, in turn, should then address some of the pressures on the NHS as a whole. There is no substitute for continuity of care and spreading the already stretched GP workforce even more thinly is likely to further fragment care.”
Paperwork and bureaucracy
GP online reported that that the government in England are planning to consult GPs in a review to ‘reduce the bureaucratic burden’ on practices, announced as part of the 2020 GP contract deal in England. In response to this I said: “Increased bureaucracy is a daily headache for GPs and practices, taking valuable time away from what family doctors and their teams do best – providing care to patients….we know GP workload is at an unsustainable level, and the BMA has long been campaigning against unnecessary admin in general practice, much of which centres around doctors being requested to produce reports or sign letters that shouldn’t need GP input or indeed the input from any healthcare professional…the pledge of a government review comes as a direct result of BMA pressure on this issue, and we will be informed by the profession as to what they want to see change so that doctors and practice teams are able to focus on treating patients.”
Childhood health briefing
The BMA has published the report Supporting a healthy childhood - The need for greater investment in services in England, which highlights a serious lack of investment across a range of child services, leaving doctors concerned about the adverse impact on child health in England. The BMA is urging the Government to increase investment across the entirety of children’s health and social care services, and reverse local authority cuts to ensure children have a healthy start in life.
Have your say - DWP survey for doctors involved in benefits process for the terminally ill (UK)
The Department for Work and Pensions is evaluating how the benefits system, including the DS1500 process, supports those nearing the end of their lives and desperately needs views from those doctors involved. To have your say please complete this short survey.
GPC UK Regional elections
Elections for the following regions are now open and will close at noon, 16 March:
To submit your vote please go to: https://elections.bma.org.uk/
If you have any queries, please contact email@example.com
See the last GPC bulletin here
See the last Sessional GPs bulletin here