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Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 11th January 2019

Date sent: Friday 11 January 2019

Sent to all Somerset GPs and Practice Managers          This and previous updates are available here

Influenza Outbreaks: Colleagues will have seen that our esteemed Chief Medical Officer has declared the influenza season officially open and noted the communication from Public Health England (sent around by Shaun Green) about the prescribing of antivirals. Some practices have even been contacted by PHE and asked to deal with suspected flu outbreaks at care homes. However the CCG has commissioned Devon Doctors Ltd (since 17/12/18) to deliver a service in response to these situations and PHE should contact Devon Doctors directly. The service  incorporates the following elements: to be the first point of contact for Public Health England (PHE) – 24 hours a day, seven days a week; the clinical review and assessment of those ‘at risk’ patients; prescribing of prophylaxis antiviral drugs and taking swabs. GP practices will, of course, manage any symptomatic patients. The LMC has requested that the CCG confirm that PHE is aware of this welcome local arrangement.

Subject Access Request (SAR): A practice has received a helpful communique from the Information Commissioner’s Office which both parties are happy for us to share. “A SAR is an individual right under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) therefore it is the individuals request rather than the solicitor’s. It is for this reason that you, as a data controller, will need to be assured that the individual has given consent for the third party, in this case a solicitor, to act on their behalf. As you have highlighted in your email we would also recommend that the information is given directly to the individual where the individual may not understand the information that would be disclosed under a SAR. It is then for the individual to make the decision as to what they share with the third party. In some cases the data controller may be able to provide the information directly to the third party where the data controller is satisfied that they are able to pass on that information. However, ultimately a SAR is an individual’s right [and] therefore can be provided to the individual. If the solicitor believes that their client’s rights under the GDPR have not been complied with they have the right – on behalf of the client - to make a complaint to us as supervisory authority, or to seek an alternative judicial remedy. Please bear in mind, however, that such avenues are only available to individual data subjects …and the solicitor could only pursue such options on behalf of the client and with his or her consent. If the data subject has declined to consent to the solicitor being provided with the entire medical records in the first place it is unlikely that the solicitor would be able to raise a complaint as it is not their request, it is the individual’s and the individual has outlined that they do not consent to the solicitor accessing the information. In relation to how the information is provided to the individual we would advise that if the request was made electronically, and unless otherwise requested by the data subject, that the information is provided in a commonly used electronic format.
The LMC’s view is that this strengthens GPs’ hands against the frank bullying of some solicitors: always check that patients understand what is being requested on their behalf. The final sentence shows the ICO’s lack of understanding about how practices work at present but the ultimate aim of allowing patients online access to their records will help solve this problem.

Rapid Response Service: We have been asked to remind you about this new HCA-led service which can help keep patients in their own homes when, in your opinion, they really do not need to be admitted for diagnosis or medical management. This week both acute Foundation Trusts have been in OPEL 4 (we are not allowed to say “Black Alert” any more so we will not use this term) with up to 40 medical outliers in T&S alone which is unsatisfactory for everyone. We continue to find colleagues who are unaware of the service or don’t think it is available to them: it is, through Somerset Primary Link, and around 140 GP referrals have come in since November.

Consultation engagement webinar: Webinar for GPs and other prescribers on Items which should not be routinely prescribed in primary care. This will take place on 16 January 2019, between 2pm – 3pm.
Latest consultation on items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care NHS England and NHS Clinical Commissioners are hosting a webinar (online meeting) to outline proposals for updated CCG guidance, including more effective, safer and/or cheaper alternative items. It will also provide GPs and other prescribers with an opportunity to ask questions and share their views on the proposals. Please visit the NHS England website to book your place.

Coagucheck Meters: We are in conversation with Roche to negotiate a further deal on new CoaguChek meters for practices , in order to do this we need an idea of how many could potentially need replacing, and would be grateful if you could complete this short survey  to inform us in our discussions. The survey will close on Friday 1st February at 12 noon.

Cases of extensively drug resistant gonorrhoea in England: Public Health England have reported that In the last three months, two cases of infection with extensively-drug-resistant (XDR) Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ng) have been confirmed by the PHE Reference Laboratory. These cases are not linked, and are from different PHE Centre areas in England. Both are female and all reported partners are male. Full details here.

International GP Recruitment: The LMC Medical Director spent a most agreeable day in Plymouth in October helping to interview international GPs wanting to work in the West Country. Although the focus is, inevitably, on Plymouth itself (where some 80,000 have no regular GP owing to practice collapse) one of the five recruited that day is planning to live and work in Somerset. It was a well organised day with some inspiring GPs to talk to as part of an interview panel of three. NHSE even pays for time and travel keeps you fed and watered throughout the day which was a civilised 10am to 4pm. The next round is on Friday 1st March and the MD cannot be there. NHSE is keen that a Somerset GP be involved and if anyone is willing to go please contact Barry Moyse via the LMC office.


Kind Regards



Jill Hellens

Executive Director
Somerset LMC
Crown Medical Centre, Venture Way, Taunton, TA2 8QY

Tel: (01823) 331 428            
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