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Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 24th July 2020

Date sent: Friday 24 July 2020

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

SGPET Covid weekly update with all online education can be found here

Important Spirometry Update from SGPET Respiratory Nurse Adviser David Long - Don't do it: Dr Steven Holmes has produced a comprehensive and clear opinion paper on the place of spirometry to date. It gives us guidance based on the evidence and specialist opinion currently available. In short DO NOT undertake Spirometry or peak flows within the practice until further notice. Do read the document and share it with all those interested within your practice. The LMC will inform you of any developments.
I do hope this finally stops any confusion, both the LMC and CCG will inform you of any future changes immediately, so carry on as you are until further notice.

GPC England guidance on arrangements for GP services for remainder of 2020/21: The GPC has updated their COVID-19: toolkit for GPs and GP practices to reflect the recent changes highlighted in the NHSE/I letter including service provision, funding, and QOF. As throughout the pandemic practices can only work within capacity and capability. With the continuing constraints of distancing, PPE, risk assessments and workforce pressures.

Ardens for EMIS Web - Webinar Recordings and Information: Practices are able to access all the recordings from the recent webinars held with Ardens on the LMC website, you will need to be logged in to see them, these include

Adoption Medicals: At this strange time we have got used to postponing face-to-face consultations that do not seem crucial. As we return to something like normal please be aware that adoption medicals can now be largely completed remotely, that Somerset County Council is encouraging this paid work and, of course most important of all, you will be helping vulnerable children into a stable home.

Notes from the PAG: No somerset cases but a learning point about using social media inappropriately to post about cases seen out of hours, jokes about covid and alcohol – the general feeling of PAG was that these are extremely inappropriate and the instigator was directed towards boundary training. A useful resource about the use of social media was highlighted here.

Pay Award: The government has agreed with the DDRB for a 2.8% uplift to the pay of Salaried GPs (plus trainers’ grants and appraisers’ fees) to be backdated to April. The 2019/20 GP contract provided a five year deal for general practice, which probably led to an above inflation rise last year with indemnity, but also included funding to allow for a 1.8% rise for all GPs and practice staff this year and an uplift for practice expenses. The DDRB was therefore not asked to recommend an rise for Contractor GPs.
NHSEI has confirmed it will not give further money to make up the extra 0.8% for Salaried GPs nor to support ANY increase for GP contractor partners or practice staff. Practices will therefore need to use existing income for this year to fund the pay rises reducing partner profits. GPC Chair Richard Vautrey met Health Minister Jo Churchill MP to raise concerns that a 2.8% uplift is not enough with practices of paying anything above 1.8% while also seeing cost pressures due to the pandemic. Nor is it fair that GP partners are not included in the award which has been badged as a “CV19 reward” by HMG.

NHS111 Direct Bookings: After questions from practices we are indebted to Dr Helen Thomas who leads for Urgent & Emergency Care at the CCG. The Directory of Services team have checked the message given by Care UK call handlers when booking directly into practice lists.
If booking an appointment please advise the patient that this is for telephone call-back from the GP practice. It is NOT a timed appointment for the patient to attend. If symptoms worsen or a call-back is missed / not received within disposition time-frame, please ask the patient to contact their practice directly. If no appointment is booked, please ask the patient to contact their practice directly.
The LMC was concerned that, perhaps owing to the paucity of CV19 calls, some non-Covid work was apparently being directed to practices using that pathway. Last week 83 calls were directed to Somerset practices affecting seven in 10 but we do not know how many were appropriate.

Locum and Sessional Survey: Over the last few months the need for GP locums reduced, with sessional Doctors looking at other ways of maintaining an income. Now things are changing again we are keen to get an idea of what can be done better to support the sessional workforce and plan for what may happen over the next six months and beyond. Remote working has increased but not everyone was able to get involved. We want to establish who wants to but doesn't have a laptop, the correct access or training for the various platforms that are being used.
​Please take a few minutes to complete the survey and we'll use your comments to help us prepare for whatever happens next, and review what went right and wrong over the last few months. We're keen that no one misses out on the support and planning that the LMC is engaged in. The survey will close on Friday 14th August.

Group Consultation: SGPET does not expect planned Group Consultation training meetings with national leaders ELC to take place in September and October. Practices interested instead in receiving online training and support from ELC in establishing Virtual Group Consultations can register interest by completing brief form here.
Form requires number requiring training. You will need clinicians ( often practice nurses), meeting facilitators ( could be HCA or health coach with IT skills) and coordinators (from admin team). PMs might also benefit from completing training. Spaces across the South-west for this training offer are limited at the moment and being allocated on a first come basis. All you are committing to now by completing the form is an expression if interest. Any questions about this offer to

And Finally...

From our Medical Director: LMC representatives were stunned to be shown a public health message delivered in Georgiespeak from Gateshead. It is rumoured that the Wurzels' agent has been approached by Somerset County Council to front a local flu (and who knows?) CV19 vaccination campaign. An LMC informer says that it will go something like, "Where be that virus to, young 'un? I know where 'ee be. Give 'un a girt big jab - Mine's a scrumpy. Oooh Arrr!"​


Kind Regards



Jill Hellens

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

Tel: (01823) 331 428            
Fax: (01823) 338 561
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