Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 30th October 2020
Date sent: Friday 30 October 2020
Sent to all Somerset GPs and Practice Managers This and previous updates are available here
- Under Pressure
- Delayed Hospital Appointments
- Ophthalmology Referral Guidance Somerset Foundation Trust
- Tackling health inequality webinar
Under Pressure: We know that CV19 and the response to it has exacerbated the shift of work from secondary to primary care. Few letters these days seem not to come with a list of “homework” – ask your GP to do X-rays, bloods and start you on the medication. We have heard disturbing reports of “requests” to do pre-op bloods and ECG. BRI wanted a chest examination on one patient to make sure they were fit for surgery. Referral criteria are being tightened, with more referrals being sent back without even any advice or guidance. As one colleague put it, “[t]he COVID EXCUSE is being used as a way of shifting work in one direction only- towards GPs!”
Please be assured that the LMC locally and the BMA nationally is doing all that it can to push back against this extra unfunded work for which there is no capacity. We are trying to maintain relationships with secondary care colleagues despite some misconceptions about how “the other half lives.” We know that colleagues are sending emails questioning demands and we know that hospital doctors are often surprised to receive them and will think again. One example from the Med Dir’s own practice was being “asked” to arrange a test not even available to GPs on Ordercomms. Please recall that we have a suite of letters that can be used to push back on our website if that fails or time does not permit. The LMC is always ready to take up the cudgels on your behalf when an NHS number is always useful. We are all under pressure but it’s getting worse - “It's the terror of knowing what the world is about/ Watching some good friends screaming/ ‘Let me out'…”
Delayed Hospital Appointments: the LMC is aware that a lot of patients are contacting practices in reference to the delay in outpatients appointments, we hope that you find the following text useful to share…
We were sorry to hear that your hospital appointment has been delayed. Covid restrictions mean that most people are having to wait longer for their outpatient appointments, tests and operations. All our referrals are graded by the relevant consultant team. We have no say about when the consultants allocate their appointments which is based on their judgement of the urgency of the clinical need.
Many patients are contacting us asking for letters to be sent to help speed up their appointment. You will see that this is something we are unable to do for the reasons explained above.
However, if you think your symptoms have changed and your need is now urgent, do please write a letter or email detailing why you think so which we can forward to the relevant specialist team. The more detail you include the better.
If you are very concerned then do please get in touch with us for an appointment which, under current NHS regulations, will be a phone call or other remote consultation in the first instance but which can be face-to-face if needs be.
Crown Medical Centre, Venture Way, Taunton, TA2 8QY
Tel: (01823) 331 428
Fax: (01823) 338 561
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