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LMC weekly update - 14 August, 2020

General practice appointment updated guidance (England)

We have published joint guidance with NHSE/I on creating more accurate general practice appointment data (GPAD), so that we can more accurately reflect the workload delivered in general practice. The guidance introduces an agreed definition of an appointment and asks general practice to start applying this now and systematically, as an important first step to improve data quality. This is to ensure all appointments are being recorded in general practice appointment systems, and to fully capture the scale of work and workload in general practice,

Further technical system specific advice and guidance will be issued to support practices with configuring appointment books and applying a set of new, standardised national categories for appointment types. Read more here

Supporting Mentors Scheme and GP Fellowship programme (England)

Following our 2020/21 GP contract agreement, NHSE/I has now launched the Supporting Mentors Scheme and GP Fellowship programme, as part of a group of GP recruitment and retention initiatives.

The supporting mentors scheme aims to support the training of at least 450 GPs as mentors, who will then form a cohort of locally based and highly experienced doctors who can each support between 4-6 mentees.  GPs on the scheme will be provided with funded training, leading to a recognised mentoring qualification. Once trained, GP mentors will be reimbursed to conduct one session of mentoring every week.

GP mentors will be able to connect with newly qualified doctors on the GP Fellowship programme and to support them into become part of the local primary care team.

NHSE/I has also published a letter this week about Expanding the primary care workforce in 2020/21, which highlights the New to Partnership Payment Scheme, to support practices to recruit GP partners, and highlights the inclusion of nursing associates to the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme.

Updated Standard Operating Procedures for general practice (England)

NHSE/I has updated its Standard Operating Procedures for general practice, which now includes sections on cases definition of COVID-19, patients at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, patients advised to shield, safeguarding, symptom management and end-of-life care.

Risk assessments

Practices are reminded of the importance of undertaking workforce risk assessments on their staff. The BMA has guidance which looks at the implications of risk assessments for practices – specifically what impact the adjustments required for high risk staff could have on practices, staff and patients. It also suggestions what mitigation practices could do, such as working from home or removal from areas that are considered hazardous. The guidance also lists risk assessment tools that are available to practices to use. Read the guidance here

Impact of long-term Covid-19 symptoms on patients and doctors

The latest BMA tracker survey, published yesterday, shows the impact of long-term COVID-19 symptoms on patients and doctors, highlighting concerns that the NHS will continue to experience pressure in the upcoming months.

In response to this I said: “It's increasingly clear that the long-term impact of Covid-19 on individuals and on health services will be profound. These statistics suggest that patients are, even once they have recovered from the worst of this virus, still suffering the after-effects for some time. With more patients presenting with conditions as the result of infection, it’s essential that sufficient capacity is in place to support and treat them. With the growing backlog of non-Covid treatment, the likelihood of a season flu outbreak, and the possibility of a second wave of infections we need to see a more comprehensive long-term plan to enable doctors to care for their patients this winter and beyond.” Read the full quote here.  I was interviewed by ITV news (feature begins at 15:07) on Wednesday, commenting on the range of impacts the virus can have on patients and for Radio Aire.  This was also reported by the Daily MailWales online, and in regional media including the Lancashire Telegraph and Oxford Mail.

The BMJ has now published an article about the Management of post-acute covid-19 in primary care – you can read it here.

Indemnity for flu vaccinations

All three Medical Defence Organisations (MDOs) have confirmed that they will provide indemnity cover, at no extra charge, for practices who vaccinate their own staff against flu this year. We are in discussions with NHSR about the indemnity arrangements for staff vaccinations for any coronavirus vaccine that may become available.

Vaccine supply for the 2020 to 2021 children’s flu programme

The Fluenz Tetra vaccine will be made available to order by all NHS providers of the 2020/21 children’s flu programme on Friday 28 August. First deliveries will be made on your normal scheduled delivery day, beginning on Wednesday 2 September.

The inactivated vaccine (QIVe) for children in clinical risk groups for whom LAIV is unsuitable will be available to order from ImmForm by early September.

These timings remain subject to change and plans for vaccination sessions should be made with this in mind. Any changes to this schedule will be communicated on the ImmForm website and PHE Vaccine Update.

NHS People Plan 2020/21 – BMA summary & commentary (England)

The BMA has published a summary and commentary of the NHS People Plan that was published on 30 July and which we have previously highlighted. The document summarises the commitments made in the Plan with a focus on those most relevant to doctors, and it also provides a commentary and analysis on each section. It can be read here

New GP practice profiles on the NHS website

NHS Digital has updated the GP practice profiles on the NHS website which feature improved support for mobile and tablet devices. Your practice’s existing profile information will be automatically copied over to the new platform and the way you update your profile has not changed. Profiles editors should have received further information from the NHS website service desk. Use the NHS website GP practice finder to find and view your new profile.

Final pay controls

RSM (a provider of audit, tax and consulting services) have produced a video on final pay controls for the NHS pension scheme, which explains the charge, how it is calculated and what to do to avoid it. This would be useful for both GPs and practice managers to watch.

Serious Shortage Protocol for fluoxetine

Due to ongoing supply issues, the Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP) currently in effect for fluoxetine 40mg capsules has been extended. The SSP was issued on 20 May 2020 and will now end on Friday 4 September 2020.

StopCOVIDNI Contact tracing app (Northern Ireland)

Northern Ireland launched its StopCOVIDNI contact tracing app last week, which has been designed using the same technology as the app in the Republic of Ireland to ensure all-Island functionality and with other countries in Europe.

Cervical Screening Administration Service – new telephone number

The transfer of the Cervical Screening Administration Service (CSAS) from PCSE back to the NHS includes the allocation of a new telephone number, which as of 19 August 2020 will be 0300 124 0248. As part of this second phase, CSAS will also be deleting all old email addresses on 31 August 2020 which link to Capita / PCSE. Practices should now use this online form to contact CSAS.

PPE Portal

Practices are reminded that you can register and place orders for PPE via the PPE portal, which can be delivered within 48 hours, to ensure regular supplies of PPE in advance of the winter and flu campaign. More information is available on the DHSC PPE portal guidance page and the portal customer service team can be reached on 0800 876 6802 for enquiries or registration support.

Less Than Full Time (LTFT) conference

The BMA will be hosting a virtual conference for Less Than Full Time (LTFT) doctors from all branches of practice on Friday, 13 November. The conference will be a good opportunity for LTFT doctors from across the UK to network and learn through some tailored workshops.  Please mark the date in your calendar, and further information and registration details will be announced nearer the time.

Specialist and professional committee elections - reopened nominations and voting open

Voting is now open for the following BMA committees:

– Committee of medical managers (CMM) is looking for qualified managers in primary care to join its committee for two sessions (September 2020-2021).

– Armed forces committee (AFC)

– Private practice committee (PPC)

– Forensic and secure environments committee (FSEC)

– Civil and public services committee (CPSC)

To submit your vote please visit https://elections.bma.org.uk/ by 12pm, 25 August

Nominations to a number of seats have also been reopened. To submit your nomination or to find out more details about which seats are still available please visit  https://elections.bma.org.uk/

ARM Agenda

The Agenda for the BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting, to be held virtually on Tuesday 15 September, has now been published. Read more in a blog by Helena McKeown, Chair of the BMA’s representative body.

ARM Elections

Elections for a number of BMA committees, including GPC UK, are open for nominations until 15 September at 10am. The full list of committees and more information are available here, and to submit a nomination click here. More information, including instructions on how to nominate yourself, is available here. If you have any queries regarding, please contact elections@bma.org.uk

LMC England Conference – Friday 27 November 2020
This year’s annual LMC England conference on Friday 27 November and will be held virtually.  LMCs have been sent an email with information on how to submit motions (deadline for submitting motions is midday Friday 18 September 2020and how to register (applications must be submitted by 16 October 2020). More information will be provided nearer the time on how to access the virtual conference, and will be added to the LMC page on the BMA website. For further information please contact Karen Day on kday@bma.org.uk

Mental health and wellbeing

The BMA continues to offer wellbeing services and confidential 24/7 counselling and peer support for all doctors and medical students, as well as their partners and dependents, on 0330 123 1245. For hard copies of our Wellbeing poster, please email wellbeingsupport@bma.org.uk

Access the BMA’s mental wellbeing pages here

BMA COVID-19 guidance

We continue to regularly update our toolkit for GPs and practices, which includes a large range of topics relating to COVID-19. There is also guidance on the following topics:

·         Guidance on risk assessments which includes specific information for practices.

For further information, see the BMA’s COVID-19 Webpage with all the latest guidance including links to the BMA’s COVID-19 ethical guidance and priorities for easing lockdown.

Other COVID-19 media (Northern Ireland)

Northern Ireland GPC chair, Alan Stout, was interviewed by BBC Radio Foyle and quoted in a piece in the News Letter on rise in COVID infection rates. He also appeared on BBC Radio Ulster TalkBack programme to discuss an interview of the Health Minister Robin Swann about the current state of play with the coronavirus pandemic (the Minister’s interview starts at 04:40 and Alan’s at 23:39).

See this week’s GP bulletin here.

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