PCN Service Specifications survey
NHS England and NHS Improvement have published draft PCN service specifications and an accompanying survey asking for feedback. GPC England will engage with NHSEI in negotiations on the service specifications in the coming weeks and this will be influenced by the responses to the consultation. We would therefore ask LMCs to circulate the link to the survey to local practices and clinical directors and to encourage them to make their views known as soon as possible through a response.
NHSEI are also running a series of webinars where the outline service specifications will be discussed, on Wednesday 8 January 2020 – 12.00-1.30pm and Thursday 9 January 2020 - 10am-11.30am. In addition a webinar focusing on the community services elements of the Enhanced Health in Care Homes and Anticipatory Care service specifications, aimed at directors and chief executives of community health providers will be held on Tuesday 14 January 2020 – 3pm-4.30pm.
For community health providers, NHSEI plan to commission service requirements via the NHS Standard Contract. These requirements form part of the consultation on the Standard Contract, which will run from 19 December 2019 to 31 January 2020 and can be found here.
Following the new Government's pledge to invest more into the NHS, the Times published a series of articles highlighting the workforce crisis in general practices. In response to this a letter I wrote to the Times was published, where I said: "Your important investigation (“One doctor for 11,000 patients in GP shortage”, Dec 21) underlines the crisis in general practice that my colleagues and I at the BMA have been vocal about for years. We do not have enough GPs to meet the needs of our growing population: many people are living with increasingly complex conditions. This inevitably means that some patients are waiting too long for an appointment, which is distressing for people who are ill and frustrating to practice staff, who want to provide the best care possible”.
I also spoke on LBC radio last week to discuss OECD research which found that Britain has the second lowest number of doctors per capita in Europe, after Poland, where I said: "The number of doctors has not kept pace with the rising population or the complexity of our patients. It's been a really good thing that more people are living longer into their 80s and 90s, but that also means that they are more in need of healthcare, and so we need to grow our medical services - not just doctors, but nurses and others as well, to be able to support the growing needs of our patients. If we don't do that then we put added burden on clinicians and that's when they themselves become burned out and leave."
The Sunday Times (sign-up required) also reported on the letter from Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, to the Prime Minister warning that the Government's NHS election pledges will not be enough to rescue it from crisis, and that there will still be a funding black hole of £6.2 billion a year by 2023-24. The story was also covered by Eastern Eye, Yahoo News, NDTV, Business Standard, Devdiscourse, Outlook India, and Medical Dialogues.
PHE to cut New Year anti-smoking campaign
I was interviewed by BBC 4 Radio’s World at One programme on Friday about the news that Public Health England will be cutting back on its New Year anti-smoking campaign due to a fall in Government funding. I highlighted the concern about these proposals and said: "We are seeing patients in our surgeries on a daily basis who still smoke; we try to provide advice and guidance to them but we need the help of Government, and we need the help of public health budgets." Listen to the full interview on BBC Radio 4’s World at One here (from 22mins in).
Influenza 2020/21 letter
NHS England and NHS Improvement has now published a letter based on the recommendations by Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which sets out the vaccines that should be offered to eligible people and the reimbursement guidance for 2020/21.
New Year’s honours
I would like to congratulate a number of GPs who we regularly work with who received honours in the Queen’s New Year’s honour list:
Dr Jonathan Leach, joint honorary secretary of the Royal College of General Practitioners, was awarded an OBE for services to general practice. Read more here.
Dr Victoria Tzortziou-Brown, joint honorary secretary of the RCGP, was also awarded an OBE for services to general practice. Read more here
Dr Henrietta Hughes, National Guardian for the NHS and General Practitioner, was awarded an OBE for services to the NHS.
Professor John Campbell, Professor in General Practice and Primary Care at Exeter University, was awarded an OBE for services to general practice.
Introductory meeting with England Chief Medical Officer Prof Christopher Whitty
Just before Christmas, I joined Chaand Nagpaul, BMA chair of council, in a meeting with the recently appointed England CMO Professor Christopher Whitty, who is also Chief Scientific Advisor for the Department of Health and Social Care. He is a practicing consultant physician in infectious diseases.
It was a good opportunity to discuss with Professor Whitty his thinking about the NHS and the medical profession. He was particularly interested in the role of general practice within the NHS, and it was useful for me to be able to brief him on the realities facing GPs and how they can be better supported.
Medicine supply update
Please see attached the medicine supply update from the Department of Health and Social Care for December. There are also tier 2 shortages of clonidine 25mcg tablets and h2-antagonists (cimetidine, famotidine and nizatidine), and a supply disruption alert for ranitidine (all formulations) is available at SDA/2019/005-U2. A tier 3 supply disruption alert for Convulex capsules (valproic acid) was issued on 23 December and is available here.
Serious Shortage Protocol for haloperidol
The DHSC has issued a Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP) for haloperidol (Serenace®) 500 microgram capsules which took effect on 23 December 2019 with an expiry date of 23 March 2020. Where prescriptions are presented for the haloperidol 500microgram capsules, this SSP allows pharmacists to supply haloperidol 500microgram tablets. For more information see the SPS website.
RPS: New competency framework for designated prescribing practitioners
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has published a Competency Framework for Designated Prescribing Practitioners for use by all the non-medical prescribing professions. The Framework supports individuals across all independent prescribing professions, training providers and universities to understand what competencies must be met to provide safe and effective prescribing supervision to independent prescribers.
Read the latest GPC newsletter here.