Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 3rd April 2020
Date sent: Friday 3 April 2020
Sent to all Somerset GPs and Practice Managers This and previous updates are available here
- General Practices' Alert State
- Covid Testing for Primary Care
- LMC Website
- At Risk & Very High Risk - written by Jon Dolman
- BMA GPC Statement on PCN DES
- Letter from YDH re 2ww referrals
- Updated PPE Advice
- Contraception update
- Link up in Lockdown
- SW CHIS items of news and requests
- Easy 8 Week calculator
- Somerset Mental Health
- Support for installation of physical barriers from Covid-19 daily bulletin 31.3.20
- WHO and UK Guidance
- Data Sharing Update
- Consultant Connect Reminder
- Pathology Laboratory Services
General Practices' Alert State: Somerset LMC’s assessment of General Practices’ Alert State for the period 27th March - Friday 3rd April.
You can follow this link for a more detailed assessment and an explanation of the General Practice Alert State system.
This information is for awareness and consideration when making decisions which may have an impact upon General Practice across Somerset.
The survey for this week is now open until Monday 6th at 7pm.
Covid Testing for Primary Care: We were informed on the System call this morning that testing will be starting next week over 2 sites in Somerset, Bridgwater and Yeovil, the full detail will be sent out in the CCG update tonight so please do keep an eye out for this, we will also send to all when it arrives.
LMC Website: the team have been busy making sure the relevant information for Covid 19 is accessible from the website, all national information can be found in the hot topic area on the front page, we have also set up an area with more local information and a timeline of the CCG bulletin and will be highlighting most important topics, the page can be found here please do let us know if you would find anything else useful.
At Risk & Very High Risk - written by Jon Dolman: Practices have contacted us who have received requests from patients who believe they should be in the "extremely vulnerable" group for COVID severity, but have not received an NHS England letter. Following national advice we would recommend the following in such instances:
- Patients believe they should be shielding due to a medical condition and their employer will only pay them if a letter is available. This is an employment issue, rather than a medical issue. They could potentially be furloughed if their employer can get the 80% (max £2.5k) per month to support their salary. For further information they can be directed to this webpage.
- Whether or not employment is an issue patients are able to register themselves as extremely vulnerable at this webpage.
Updated PPE Advice: The updated guidance has just been published. The consultation on Monday received over 1000 responses.
PPE should be used for all patient contacts in primary care and this now includes eye protection. Patients should also wear masks.
More details are here.
Contraception update: Practices should find the recent guidance from the FSRH helpful in provision of LARC during COVID. Please find attached here.
Women will still need to access emergency contraception and Somerset County Council is working with providers to ensure this provision is as robust as it can be during this period.
Link up in Lockdown: Would you like to meet up informally with colleagues outside work? Whatever stage of your career you are at, keeping in touch is particularly important now. Join one of the new online Somerset GP-Link groups being set up in April by facilitators from GP Career Plus with the support of the LMC, SGPET and SPH full detail here.
Somerset Mental Health: has come together to provide support for adults and older adults with low mood, anxiety, distress. There is one phone number for MINDLINE 01823 276892 they will offer support and they can also introduce you to other offers and support as appropriate. Diagram of support here.
Support for installation of physical barriers from Covid-19 daily bulletin 31.3.20: We understand that staff in pharmacies working hard at the frontline of our fight against coronavirus are understandably feeling very anxious about the risks to them at work. In line with the guidance in the standard operating procedure we will pay all pharmacies (who are not distance-selling pharmacies) and all dispensing doctors a £300 payment to support installation of physical barriers such as screens and retractable tapebarriers or other adjustments to help enforce social distancing.
Data Sharing Update: The Secretary of State has issued notices under the Regulations that require organisations including GPs to process patient information. These notices require that data is shared for purposes of the COVID-19 pandemic and should give health organisations (including the UK Biobank project) and local authorities the security and confidence to share the data they need to respond to it. This means patient data may be shared with organisations involved in the response to coronavirus, for example, enabling notification to members of the public most at risk and advising them to self-isolate. These provisions will last until at least 1st October.
Data controllers are still required to comply with relevant and appropriate data protection standards and to ensure within reason that they operate within statutory and regulatory boundaries. GDPR allows health data to be used as long as one or more of the conditions under Articles 6 and 9 are met. These allow data sharing under conditions for including ‘the care and treatment of patients’ and ‘the public health’. Full detail here , any queries please e-mail somccg.GPDPO@nhs.net.
Consultant Connect Reminder: may we just remind practices of the benefits of contacting consultant connect we are receiving very positive feedback as a support in the current situation, the full detail of the expanded service was included in our update on the 28th February and can be found in the link at the top of this e-mail.
Pathology Laboratory Services: The labs aim to maintain comprehensive services for primary care but have contingency plans to support acute hospital services should they be impacted by staff shortages or supply issues.
If services have to be curtailed, we will cascade this information widely, including to Practice Managers and the LMC. Additionally, a “ticker-tape” message will appear on tQuest. This will be either: “Laboratory Service Level 3 – ESSENTIAL TESTING ONLY” or “Laboratory Service Level 2 (or 1) – CRITICAL TESTING ONLY”
ESSENTIAL TESTING - tests required for current patient management that cannot be held back for 6-8 weeks. e.g. tumour markers/renal function for oncology clinics, minimum diagnostic tests for suspected new cancer. Does not include lipid testing, or opportunistic screening. HbA1c non-repeat extended to 6 months and if demand exceeds capacity samples may not be processed before end of sample stability.
CRITICAL TESTING - tests required for immediate patient care in e.g. sick patients, or high suspicion of new cancer diagnosis. Request must be phoned through to Hub lab by the requesting GP. Samples placed in separate envelope clearly marked urgent. Tests for oncology clinic etc – performed on a weekly basis (Thursday/Friday).
Normal service status is Level 5, Level 4 indicates the potential for delay in non-urgent sample processing. Lower levels of service are directed at maintaining essential core services. Laboratory status is communicated on a daily basis to the LMC.
Meanwhile: Somerset Partnership and Taunton and Somerset Foundation Trusts have been working together in alliance for the last three years. On 1st April they completed their merger to form Somerset NHS Foundation Trust - the first trust on the English mainland to provide community, mental health and acute hospital services.
Crown Medical Centre, Venture Way, Taunton, TA2 8QY
Tel: (01823) 331 428
Fax: (01823) 338 561
We have updated our privacy policies on both the Somerset LMC and Somerset GP Education trust websites.