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Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 14th May 2021

Date sent: Friday 14 May 2021

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

Dr Karen Sylvester LMC Chairman writes: We are all aware of the great pressures on the system as the nation gratefully unlocks. The LMC has been beset with stories from practices worried about serious difficulties with service provision in the face of pent-up demand often compounded by staff shortages including long term staff sickness, sometimes owing to long Covid. Online consultation is also proving to be “another lane on the motorway” for some practices making more rather than reducing work. 
The LMC is in urgent discussion with our CCG highlighting all of your concerns and will continue to work hard to support you and practices. We are hopeful forthcoming CCG communications will reflect support for practices locally as well as the communities they serve in the meantime we are developing a communication package for practices to help and we are addressing workload issues with our colleagues.

Advanced Warning of new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to Support Restoration of General Practice Services: This letter from NHSE dated yesterday apparently involved the RCGP. The General Practitioners’ Committee (GPC) of the BMA was not consulted. The LMC thinks that, on first reading, this could be seen, yet again, as a one-sided, politically-motivated document from NHSEI that ignores the present general practice workload as we struggle with pent up demand and backlogs as the nation emerges from lockdown. It also ignores the incredible  hard work, for some at great personal cost, throughout the pandemic and as we continue to deliver the Mass Vaccination Programme. We hope and expect authoritative guidance shortly but in the meantime practices should recall that your only obligation is to determine yourself how to deliver your responsibility to meet the needs of patients. SOPs are, and always have been, guidance and are not

Covid Vaccine status: In preparation for the requests that may arrive in general practice, please see below all relevant links that you may wish to use to inform messages on your websites and signpost patients to, with some suggested draft text if at all helpful.

“Thank you for contacting the surgery enquiring about COVID vaccination certification.
We are unable to issue this certificate at the practice.
Please see here.
Proof of your vaccination status will be available on the NHSapp, (*** you may choose to delete this -which is also valuable for accessing your health records and ordering repeat prescriptions***)
The NHSapp can be downloaded from here for iPhone or here for android.
Alternatively you can call the NHS helpline on 119 (from 17 May) and ask for a letter to be posted to you. This must be at least 5 days after you’ve completed your course of the vaccine, the letter may to take up to 5 days to reach you.“

Data Security & Protection Toolkit for 2020/21: The deadline for the Data Security & Protection Toolkit for 2020/21 is 30 June 2021. To support practices with meeting the requirements of the DSPT, please refer to the guidance document “DSPT Requirements 20-21 GP Cat 4 Guidance”, which is available via your shared X-drive (Shared Area\GP Practices – Shared Area\Information Governance\DSPT Guidance GP Cat 4 2020-21), alongside template documents for some of the requirements.
If you have any questions about the DSPT, please contact the Information Governance Team via and they will be happy to help.

Somerset LMC Needs a Sessional GP Representative: The LMC represents all GPs whether partners, salaried, sessional or in training. Over recent months the elected GPs on the committee who are salaried have become partners. A new salaried colleague is urgently required to make sure that we remain as representative as possible. Salaried GPs are a vital section of the workforce and their voices must continue to be heard. For more information please contact

Microsoft N365 licences will be allocated for Locum GPs: We are pleased to advise that as a result of the work across the BMA, the Royal College of GPs, and NHSX, the "apps for enterprise" Microsoft N365 licences will now be allocated for Locum GPs who are currently a member of the nationally managed NHS Mail Locum group for a period of 12 months. During this time, work will continue within NHSX and NHS Digital to find a sustainable long term solution. We expect the licences to be live over the coming weeks

Central procurement for Pneumovax®23 from 1 June 2021: From 1 June 2021 the Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPV 23) will be centrally procured. In line with other national immunisation programmes, Public Health England will supply this vaccine for the routine immunisation programme and immunisation of those with underlying medical conditions, rather than providers locally procuring the vaccine. The vaccine will be available to order from PHE’s ImmForm website. Read more here.

Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour Based Violence (DASH): CCG Safeguarding lead Dr Jo Nicholl writes, “After several GPs were concerned about the time and training needed to complete the DASH risk assessment form I went to the Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (SIDAS) to clarify the referral process. I want the DASH risk assessment to help rather than be a barrier to referral so we agreed the following:

If you are not able to  complete a DASH the validation of your decision making will need to be based on your own risk assessment. Please make a referral to SIDAS using the referral form clearly stating your concerns. SIDAS should then contact you about the referral and will also offer a training session on domestic abuse and completion of the DASH. The link to the SIDAS GP section is: Information for GPs and health professionals – Somerset Survivors

Increasing Emergency Department (ED) Attendance: It will come as no surprise that all parts of the NHS are busy including our A&Es. The Teams there know (and we make sure of it) that they only see a tiny fraction of the numbers in primary care and that we are not closed and all practices have systems for dealing with genuine on the day urgent care. Whilst we know that sometimes directing patients directly to A&E is the right thing to do (e.g fractures) in most situations direct referral to Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) services for both medical and surgical patients via SPL can help patients that need it get the right care  and reduce unnecessary attendances  to A&E.

Sessional GP Survey: “Sessional GPs are recognised to be vital part of the workforce - where would the Somerset NHS be without them? But their voices are seldom heard. We want to help put this right. Please answer our brief survey and if you’re not a sessional GP please tell any you know about this important information gathering project. We want it to be the beginning of a new deal for sessional doctors which will benefit us all.” Closing date 4th June 5PM.

The new Somerset Emotional Wellbeing programme has been set up to protect the Wellbeing of the whole health and care workforce including everyone in general practice. This has never been more important than now. The next LMC/TH Thursday lunchtime webinar on June 3rd is an essential introduction to the programme for every general practice manager, employer, team leader and supervisor please. BOOK HERE

Train the Trainer: The ‘Train the Healthcare Trainer’ course is running for its second time starting on the 7th June. Learn how to deliver healthcare training using evidence-based teaching methods, and progress towards becoming an expert trainer.
This is a free course sponsored by HEE and is open to all colleagues involved in healthcare education.
You can sign up and find out more here.
This is a facilitated online course that will run over a 7 week period, it is delivered by NHS colleagues from Somerset Foundation  Trust and Health Education England.

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Kind Regards



Jill Hellens

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

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