GPC England contract update
As you will be aware, last week, GPC England voted to accept the changes to the GP contract for 2020-21. Read more about the contract changes, including an update from me, here. We are now in the process of planning a number of GPCE roadshows to outline the agreement - more details will be announced shortly.
GP Online, Pulse and HSJ have covered the contract changes in detail. In addition P3 Pharmacy and Independent Community Pharmacist also reported on the contract changes. Practice business reported on the RCGP’s take on the new contract.
PCN conference 2020
Last Saturday, we held our second annual Primary Care Networks (PCN) 2020 Conference , this time in at the ICC in Birmingham. The event was very successful and provided a good opportunity for the almost 400 attendees to hear and talk about the new GP contract agreement and its impact on the future of PCNs for the years ahead. Read a summary here and my blog about it here
At the conference, I also called for a rapid solution to the pension annual allowance tax issue, more work to address the gender pay gap in general practice and urgent funding to support practice premises and IT developments. This was reported in GPonline
The BMA is continuing to provide a programme of support for the development of PCNs to ensure that this takes place in a way that supports GP practices and everyday GPs in their workload and provision of patient care.
Special Conference of English LMCs – 11 March
There will be a special conference of English LMCs on 11 March to discuss the outcome of negotiations and the contract agreement. The conference will take place at the Mermaid Theatre, London. The deadline to register to attend is Thursday 20 February, via this link
The deadline to submit motions is noon, Friday 21 February, via this link. Before you submit motions, please ensure you have read the 2020/21 contract agreement and that you submit motions using the suggested headings.
LMC UK Conference 2020
This year’s annual LMC UK conference will be held on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 May 2020 at York Barbican. UK LMCs have been sent an email earlier this week about registering for the conference and dinner, which should be done by no later than Friday 27 March, using this link.
The deadline to submit motions for the LMC UK conference is noon, 24 February 2020, via this link [Please do not submit motions for the special conference of English LMCs using this link]
An email was sent out by the BMA yesterday to update members about COVID-19 (Wuhan novel coronavirus). The BMA has also updated its guidance to reflect the latest Government guidance for health professionals. We are expecting further information for clinicians to be published shortly and will ensure our own guidance on the website reflects this. The main principle remains - to avoid pressures on primary care, ambulance services and emergency departments, and to direct patients to NHS111. Read the Public Health England guidance here
Following concerns raised by practices and LMCs about patients accessing appointments via online system, without being triaged about the risk for having been infected, we have discussed with NHS England about practices being able to suspend online booking systems for appointments. They have advised that currently, this would be local decision based on specific risks in the area e.g. in relation to confirmed cases and the adequacy of online booking messaging. In such situations practices should raise their concerns with the local commissioner through their LMC so that a risk assessment can be carried out and decision made. This issue was reported in the BMJ with comments by Peter Holden, BMA’s emergency preparedness lead.
Peter Holden was interviewed on Monday morning on Talk Radio (7.10am) and also by BBC News on Wednesday evening. He also spoke to Sky News this morning, saying that it is crucial for the public to practice good personal hygiene, such as regular hand-washing. Pulse and Daily Mail reported on the issue of some NHS 111 call handlers failing to ask patient if they have travelled to the affected countries, and advising patient to see their GP. I spoke to BBC Radio York on Monday evening (about 5.45pm) and said that good personal hygiene is essential to stopping the spread of infection. BBC and Pulse reported on the GP practice in Brighton having closed after a staff member had been confirmed as infected by Covid-19.
We remain in regular contact with Public Health England, RCGP and other relevant stakeholders to highlight members’ concerns on a range of issues.
Regulations on Coronavirus (England)
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (England), Matt Hancock, has published new regulations declaring that the incidence or transmission of novel Coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health. The measures outlined in these regulations are considered as an effective means of delaying or preventing further transmission of the virus. Read their statement.
Mumps cases rising
BBC News and other media have reported today on the rise in the number of cases of mumps, reaching the highest level in England for a decade. I will be interviewed on LBC this evening about the importance of MMR vaccination.
Medicine supply notification: Salbutamol
Salbutamol 2mg/5mg syrup is out of stock until the end of February 2020. For patients with insufficient supplies, clinicians should consider prescribing an unlicensed import of salbutamol 2mg/5ml syrup or salbutamol 2mg or 4mg tablets.
In December 2019, 1.42 million more appointments occurred in general practice than in December 2018. This echoes the overall monthly trend towards increased appointments in general practice across England – over the entirety of the 2019 calendar year, 3.77 million more appointments occurred across England than in 2018. Whilst recognising the workload pressures the rise in the number of appointments reflects, this is a simplistic way of measuring activity in general practice and we believe practices should be supported to offer fewer but longer appointments to enable better quality consultations. Read more in our latest analysis of general practice data.
Reform report on practice premises
The think tank Reform has launched the report A primary care estate fit for the future, arguing for the need of greater focus and prioritisation of the primary care estate in the Government’s plans, calling for further investment into these services, better streamlining of existing funding and a new approach to funding digital initiatives in primary care. This reflects our position about the need for premises funding in our letter to the Chancellor calling for premises funding. We are continuing to lobby for urgent action on premises ahead of the UK Government’s Budget on 11 March.
IPPR report on new deal for primary care in England
The Institute for Public Policy Research has published a report entitled Realising the neighbourhood NHS: A new deal for primary care in England warning that scrapping the GP partnership model could be the key to delivering the extra 50m appointments and 6,000 GPs promised by the government. In response to this I said: “The partnership model is the ‘backbone of general practice’, allowing the practices the autonomy and independence to innovate. The changes brought in through primary care networks should, in time, improve the provision of care to patients – as this report highlights – without the need to change the entire model of general practice.” This was reported in GPonline.
GPC UK Regional elections
Nominations have reopened for Dyfed Powys and North Wales – and Hillingdon, Brent, Harrow, Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow regions. To submit a nomination please go to: https://elections.bma.org.uk/ by noon, 21 February.
Elections for the following regions will open at noon on Monday 17 February:
For more information, go to the ‘elections’ section on this page.
See the last GPC bulletin here