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Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 11th Septemer 2020

Date sent: Friday 11 September 2020

Sent to all Somerset GPs and Practice Managers       This and previous updates are available here   SGPET weekly update can be found here

COVID-19 Testing & Patient Demand: That Somerset people are having trouble getting a CV19 swab test is recognised across the whole health and social care system. The Local Resilience Forum has written to the DHSC and Dido Harding (and every other agency has also escalated to their superiors) the scandal of people being directed to Newport or even Glasgow for a test. This is because priority is being given to areas with higher incidences of CV19 (ours is only 7/100,000 overall at present) and lack of capacity at the national laboratory in Milton Keynes. Who would have guessed that a nationalised, centralised system might go wrong? This when the Prime Minister speaks of the UK testing more than any other European nation and promises the moon(shot) for mass testing in the future. However the Health Secretary is probably on to something about people wanting tests when not symptomatic. There is no capacity for this at present neither for NHS and SCC staff (Pillar 1) nor for the public via the DHSC service (Pillar 2). The public cannot be referred to the hospital service unless they become patients requiring admission. Employers cannot demand a negative test before return to work. Public Health is working on publicity: a negative test does not mean one is CV-secure – that is achieved by handwashing and distancing. The Pillar 2 portal often fails but does come back online so it is worth keeping on trying. The national Taunton Racecourse site HAS NOT closed yet but is sometimes “dropped off” the picking list for the lab capacity reason given above. The LMC regrets that the testing system is a mess at present. Practices are not expected to fill the void but local CCG/PH/Trust plans are in hand. Without proper testing the pandemic cannot be controlled nor the NHS, schools and wider economy expected to be restored to anything like normal under current government policy.

What Public Health want you to tell 50-64 yr olds wanting a flu jab: Whilst we’ve received information that all 50-64 year olds may be eligible for a free flu vaccination as part of plans to protect more people against seasonal flu, these free vaccinations will be subject to delivery later in the year. This allows us to focus on those who are in an at risk group, such as pregnant women and people with long term health conditions. They will be given priority and offered the vaccine first; if you are in this category you will be contacted.
If you are aged 50-64 and not in one of the at risk categories you will told in the coming months if you will be able to attend for vaccination. If the programme is extended this is likely to be November or December.
Of course if you wish to access a vaccine prior to this date you can pay to have this at your local pharmacy as in previous years, otherwise please wait for more information.

Ethinicty Recording in flu DES: which states,“Practices must include within at least one written communication (including letters and SMS text messages) offering vaccination to eligible patients, a request that the patient advises the practice of their ethnicity status if they have not previously provided this information to the practice and where provided by the patient or their carer, the practice must record the ethnicity information in the patient record.”
GPC Chair Richard Vautrey’s response to questions was, “Where practices have already contacted patients and booked them in to flu immunisation appointments already it is unreasonable to contact them again and we made that clear to NHSEI. There is [also] no expectation to contact patients who have already received the immunisation.

Influenza Vaccination Clinic Survey: The CCG are keen to understand how practices will be delivering Flu clinics this year and recently sent out a survey, to date only a handful of practices have completed, this should only take a couple of minutes of your time and will help to share any innovation in the county, link to survey here.

NEW GP update form: With the new GP fellowship and new to partnership schemes we have adjusted the feedback form on the website to incorporate this detail and would ask that practices complete this form and return to the office for any new starters or leavers to enable our records to be kept up to date and to ensure new Partners receive the support that is offered from the LMC SGPET and Training hub. unfortunately since PCSE took over administration of the performers list the LMC no longer receive these details direct.

Dispensing Practices Quality Scheme (DSQS): normally requires dispensing practices to undertake a dispensing review of use of medications (DRUMs) for at least 10% of their dispensing patients. This requirement has been reduced to a minimum of 7.5% this year and practices are asked to prioritise patients whom they consider to be higher-risk or would benefit most from a review. Practices can make these reviews remotely if clinically appropriate. The SFEs will be amended shortly.

YDH Advice & Guidance (A&G): YDH has asked us to remind you that there is no need to send a request for A&G simultaneously with a Choose & Book referral. This has led to unneeded clinic appointments being booked which are then cancelled to the confusion and sometimes the irritation of patients after their problem has been managed by A&G alone.

Spirometry & QOF: LMC Resp. Nurse advisor David Long writes: There have been enquiries regarding the requirement to do spirometry under QOF. There are no plans as yet to restart this in primary care. The consensus is to treat patients dependent on your findings without spirometry but using a careful history and other objective markers to diagnose. If high probability of COPD then code as cough for recall or make a note, treat as needed and do spirometry when it is recommenced. Regarding QOF LTC have been suspended for now. The LMC and CCG are talking to address this and will tell you when there are any changes.

Interested in becoming a paid mentor to new GP's?: Two important parts of the Updated GP Contract are the:

The Somerset New to Practice programme begins shortly so we are looking for established GPs with:

You must be working at least 3 clinical sessions a week to qualify for an additional funded session a week mentorship work. Training will be provided if required. Opportunities to support other professionals in new roles and posts may also be available.
Email to express interest in joining our Supporting Mentors Team and Dr Martyn Hughes of Somerset Training Hub will contact you.

GPN Digital Fellow: Somerset Training Hub, SGPET and Somerset CCG are looking for a General Practice Nurse with an interest in a Digital First approach to be trained and funded to become a Digital Fellow full detail here.

Lunch and Learns: Wessex LMCs very kindly gave Somerset Practices access to their Lunch & Learn training packages at a discounted price, they have now expanded their training available full list can be found here.
Once purchased, the Lunch and Learn package will include a PowerPoint presentation and all the relevant accompanying training materials online. They range from £10-45.00, please use the code SOMLMC when purchasing. You can find out more here.

Email Addresses on Radiology Requests: After 35 years it takes something to discombobulate the LMC Medical Director but one peaceful Friday afternoon on duty he was surprised to get a screen message from a receptionist. Old Mrs X had attended for her hip X-ray. The senior radiographer had taken the trouble to ring to say that there was not enough information on the request, however he’d spoken to the patient, was willing to take the pictures this time but that he (the MD) should watch it in future. It was a fair cop. Why he had left it at “physio wants X-Ray” is a mystery. Oh the irony! He, the author of update items stressing the need for full clinical information in pathology requests. But the fact remained that he had caused extra work for a hospital colleague and thus breached the prime directive of general practice. How much better to include your address in requests to improve communication, understanding and to save the blushes of being ticked off in public?

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) Pharmacy Advice Audit: In June and July 9,400 pharmacies in England did an audit to quantify informal patient consultations in community pharmacy outside the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service or any other commissioned services. Pharmacies recorded 198,043 consultations in a single day. Each pharmacy spent 75 minutes a day doing these consultations. The LPC reckons that this equals 4225 consultations a week in Somerset.

Data Security and Protection Toolkit – submission deadline: The submission date for the 2019/20 Data Security and Protection Toolkit is fast approaching. All practices need to complete their self-assessment return and publish their submission via the DSPT website by 30 September 2020 at latest. The website provides tools and guides to help support completion. If you have any further questions the guides are unable to answer, please contact


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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