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Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 29th November 2019

Date sent: Friday 29 November 2019

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

Network News...

Social prescriber costs: NHSE has agreed to extend the purpose of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) funding for social prescribers, following calls from the GPC, LMCs and PCNs. Nearly all organisations supplying a Social Prescriber Link Worker Service (SPLW) are passing on additional costs over and above the equivalent of the actual salary and the on costs, for example in administration fees. The ARRS scheme will be updated, so that where a PCN engages a SPLW service through a supplier, a PCN will be able to claim an additional flat rate sum of £2,400 per SPLW (on an annual WTE basis to be pro-rated by the WTE and duration of the roles providing the service as appropriate) as a contribution toward those additional costs. This must be affordable within the existing maximum annual reimbursable amount for social prescribing link workers. This will apply to any existing supply arrangements for SLPWs and any new supply arrangements for SPLWs agreed from this point forward.

England LMC Conference 2019: You may have seen the publicity about the motion calling for the “anachronism” of contractual home visiting to be abolished and replaced with a HV service. There was a typically thoughtful and balanced front page headline and article in the Daily Mail last Saturday for example. Team Somerset, ably represented by Drs Karen Sylvester, Tim Horlock and Rob Weaver, was led by outgoing chairman Nick Bray who was thanked for his contributions over the decades from the chair. An important motion proposed by Dr Bray on the CQC was passed unanimously and we look forward to its becoming national policy (see motion 26 in the attachment).

GDPR SARS: We have been asked if the recent court case, in which a GP was granted costs against our old friends Fletchers Solicitors whose case against him was dismissed, has changed BMA advice on SARS? Sadly the answer is not yet. The case commentary attached is surprisingly interesting (really!). The issue of whether the Practice had fulfilled its obligations under GDPR by making medical records available to collect, rather than providing the medical records directly to the Solicitor, was not explored by the Court. We hope this will be subject to future challenges, in the Courts or before the ICO. Therefore sadly we cannot recommend that Practices rely on this case to refuse to provide records directly to a third Party who is instructed on behalf of a patient. If a GP Practice wishes to discuss this further please contact our DPO.

Pensions Tax Impacts on the NHS - A Solution for 2019/20: Simon Stevens NHS Chief Exec has written to the Royal Colleges and BMA about colleagues being put off working OOH shifts in case they end up out of pocket having lost tax relief on pension contributions. Because of the General Election any substantive answer to the tapered annual allowance seems unlikely before April 2020. Mr Stevens recognises there is an urgent operational problem now. Clinicians who reach their annual pension allowance and are notified of a tax liability for this year will be able to choose ‘Scheme Pays’ as now (which means the tax is taken from their pension pot not their pocket*) BUT the NHS will make a binding commitment to pay them a corresponding amount on retirement, ensuring that they are fully compensated. Funding will be national and not fall on employers. FAQs are available at ​​​.This commitment is supported by the DH&SC and HMG. You are always advised to take independent accountancy advice but the NHS message is that clinicians are immediately able to take on additional shifts or sessions without worrying about an annual allowance charge on their pension.                                                                                           
(* scoff not younger readers, your time will come sooner than you think!)

Theophylline (Slo-phyllin): We regret to announce the passing of another old and faithful friend. Manufacture of this product has ceased, and existing stocks are likely to be exhausted by the end of November.

Election Fever: Colleagues are no doubt feeling faint with excitement in anticipation of all the good things promised for the NHS in the apparently interminable election campaign. While this year 3,538 GP training places were accepted nationally, the highest ever, valuable GPs continue to reduce their clinical commitment or retire early. Perhaps the “pensions fix” reported elsewhere today will help? In Somerset, at least in part due to the efforts of the GP in Somerset Campaign, we have bucked the trend with reports of new GP recruitment coming in from across the county. The King’s Fund has published an interesting report on GP access. Readers will recall Mr Hunt’s 5000 extra GPs by 2020. Of these 2,000 were to be overseas doctors. Despite NHSE’s efforts, by September this year the international GP recruitment programme had brought in just 140 doctors.

Spam email: Congratulations to all of you who saw through this subtle attempt at deception received on Tuesday: “Dear NHS  user, We regret to inform you that, We the help desk service is currently updating all email Account as a result of virus description which has been sent across all NHS Extension. You are Urgently required to forward your login Email and Password to NHS Help desk Service …. for urgent update and reactivation of your account. you might lose access to your account if you fail to provide your email and password for an urgent update on your NHS account, we sincerely apologized for the inconveniences.” Unfortunately some spam emails are even harder to detect. So be alert!  ​


Kind Regards



Jill Hellens

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

Tel: (01823) 331 428            
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