Publication of report into sexism and sexual harassment at the BMA
Yesterday, the BMA published the report from the independent investigation into sexism and sexual harassment at the BMA. The report makes clear that women have experienced discrimination and poor behaviour in our association and it identifies a number of cultural issues that must be addressed. The BMA has again offered unreserved apologies to all of those who have been affected by these behaviours.
The report makes several recommendations and supports the work we are already doing to implement the recommendations of the GPC UK Gender Task Group, which I established, and which reported back earlier this year. I am determined that we will address the important issues raised by this report and we will be discussing it, and how to take forward the recommendations, at the GPC England meeting next month.
You can read the full statement from BMA Chair of Council, Chaand Nagpaul, on the BMA website alongside the report and the recommendations in full. It was reported in The Guardian, Mail Online, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Times (paywall), Pulse, BMJ and GP Online.
Scottish GPC meeting
The Scottish GP Committee met yesterday (17 October). The committee received updates on contract implementation and negotiations including: premises sustainability loans, income and expenses data collection from practices, and the remote and rural working group including flexibilities to continue delivering services that are transferring in more urban areas. In addition, there were general updates on information management and technology, sessional GP issues, GP training and various reports form external groups. There was more detailed discussion on the work of the Primary Care Prescribing/Dispensing Pathway to reduce paper dependence and a call to consider annual leave entitlement for zero hours workers in out of hours. There was a presentation provided by the Scottish Ambulance Service on a Healthcare Professionals Booking Guide and the progress of this work to improve GPs calls for ambulances.
CQC State of Health report
The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) annual assessment of the state of health and social care in England showed that quality ratings in general practice remain high, but warns that ‘getting access to services can be a challenge'. The report focuses on the difficulties some patients have in accessing services across the NHS; a sign of the systemic pressures general practice, community and hospital services are under as a result of historic underinvestment. It also highlights that, despite the huge pressures general practice faces, 95% of practices are rated good or outstanding, which is far better than other services the CQC inspects. This is undoubtedly due to the hard work and commitment of practices across the country.
In response to this, Chaand Nagpaul, BMA chair of council said “Patients should be able to expect good standards of care right across the health service but the unacceptable variations of care highlighted in this report shows that many are being let down as a result of historic underinvestment.” This was reported in GPonline (sign-in required) and onmedica.
Queen’s Speech 2019
In the Queen’s Speech on Monday, it was announced that measures will be brought forward to support and strengthen the NHS, its workforce and resources, enabling it to deliver the highest quality care. In addition, new laws will be taken forward to help implement the NHS Long Term Plan in England, and to establish an independent body to investigate serious healthcare incidents. In response to this, Chaand Nagpaul, BMA chair of council said: “With Brexit dominating the political landscape, politicians must not be allowed to lose sight of the immediate pressures facing our NHS as we head into what could be its worst winter yet.” Read the full BMA statement here.
It was reported by OnMedica, and in the letters page of Yorkshire Post.
Safeguarding training update
Following our concerns about the impact on practices of implementing safeguarding training guidelines, NHS England has confirmed that it does not set the training requirements for practice staff, and that under GP contract arrangements it is for contractors to ensure that their staff are adequately trained to a level that keeps them and the public safe. We have updated our practice training resource to reflect CQC and NHS England expectations on safeguarding training. The NHS England letter is attached.
Expansion of multi-disciplinary teams in Northern Ireland
The Department of Health in Northern Ireland has announced that the multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) initiative is being expanded into two new areas, as part of the latest phase of plans to transform care at GP surgeries across Northern Ireland. In response to this Alan Stout, Chair of NIGPC, said: “This new model will clearly benefit patients, but also importantly the system as a whole, by increasing capacity in primary care, supporting and sustaining practices and improving access for patients with a wide range of conditions.” Read the full statement here. It was reported in Pulse and GPonline (sign-in required for both).
Transfer of clinical pharmacists to the PCN DES
NHS England has extended the deadline for clinical pharmacists employed under the Clinical Pharmacist in General Practice Scheme to transfer to working under PCN DES until the 30th November 2019. This is to allow people more time to finalise the arrangements where a transition has been or was in the process of being agreed. After this date, any clinical pharmacists who have not transitioned to work as part of the PCN workforce delivering the duties outlined in the Network Contract DES will no longer be eligible to do so, and will be counted in the PCN staff baseline.
Please click on the links below to complete our PCSE surveys. We will be using the evidence provided to help us push NHS England to resolve outstanding operational issues. We received a high response to our previous survey and we hope that we can achieve the same again, so please encourage your local practices and GPs to give us their views.
Survey of GP practices
Survey of all GPs including trainees
A reminder to encourage local clinical directors to please fill in our first PCN survey to help us understand progress and inform the future development of PCNs. This is part of the BMA’s commitment to support PCNs and address their concerns. The survey closes on 28 October.
Medicine supply issues
The medicine supply update for October from the Department of Health and Social Care is attached. The DHSC has informed us that the MHRA has sent a CAS alert about ranitidine, stating that all oral formulations of ranitidine are anticipated to be out of stock, with no date for resupply until further notice. See more information in the CAS alert
The Pharmacists Defence Association has published the results from a survey of pharmacists about medicine shortages, which showed that on average, they had experienced shortages of 21% of prescription drugs in the last 3 months, with over 90% of respondents feeling that the shortages had increased over the last 12 months. It was reported by the Daily Mail.
Pulse reported that the government had said that 82% of medicine suppliers have a six-week buffer in preparation for Brexit. In response to this I said: “The very fact that manufacturers are being asked to stockpile six weeks’ worth of medicines underlines the graveness of the situation the NHS faces if we leave without a deal. While we hope that pharmaceutical companies are preparing for no-deal — as the Government seems intent on reassuring us — it is difficult for doctors to judge if this is the case as we are not privy to specific arrangements. Read the full article here (sign-in required)
Read the latest GPC newsletter here.