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Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 30th July 2021

Date sent: Friday 30 July 2021

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

Recording overseas vaccinations: New guidance from Public Health England (PHE) summarises the status of a variety of Covid-19 vaccines available in the UK and overseas. This includes clinical guidance on whether an individual needs further doses in England and, if so, which type of vaccine is recommended to complete the course.
It is not recommended that vaccine courses are repeated just so individuals can be included in the NHS Covid Pass. Extra doses which are not required from a clinical perspective may lead to increased side effects.
Currently there is not a central mechanism for capturing details of overseas Covid-19 vaccines and only vaccines delivered in the UK can be accepted as evidence for UK Covid certification/the NHS Covid Pass.
A technical solution to support the recording of vaccinations overseas in the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) is in development.
In the meantime, if someone has had their first dose outside of the UK, in England they should be directed to a walk-in clinic which administers the same brand of vaccine they have had for their first dose or a GP practice (especially if they have had a brand of vaccine not available in the UK) to arrange their second dose.
Patients should be told that at this time, only vaccines delivered in the UK will count towards UK Covid certification and that the NHS is working on a solution.
If a patient registered with a GP in England makes you aware they have had a vaccination overseas, it is also good practice for GPs to record the details as free text in the clinical notes section of the patient’s GP record. The vaccination can be coded as a first or second dose, but type of vaccine will not be able to be coded as only vaccines given in the UK have SNOMED codes. Overseas vaccinations should not be added to any point of care system (for example, Pinnacle Outcomes4Health) as this will result in incorrect GP payments.

Covid Support Funds - Practice Payments: The first tranche was spent on Ardens subscription for practices this year, practice staff overtime payments for the MVP and some SPH on-costs. The Primary Care Board primary decided that the remaining funds (£208k) should be distributed equally among practices meaning @35p per patient. The payments should reach practice accounts in the next few days.

Annual flu vaccination letter: The annual national flu immunisation programme 2021 to 2022 letter has now been published. This year, the eligible cohort from the start of the programme includes those aged 50 and over and the letter states that, as trials are still ongoing to ascertain whether co-administration of COVID-19 and influenza vaccines will be permissible, practices should continue planning for influenza vaccination as usual, with further advice to be issued should co-administration with COVID-19 vaccination be recommended.

Abuse is not in a day’s work: The majority of people who need support from GP practices do so in a respectful way that helps create a safe environment for all. Sadly, a very small number of people can be abusive and aggressive to staff and other patients. To help support your practice in a zero tolerance approach, campaign material is available which you can print as posters, use on your website or circulate via your social media channels (with thanks to Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group).

Updated IIMARCH form (information, intent, administration, risk assessment, communication, humanitarian Issues template for Reporting NHS Commissioned Services Communicable Disease Outbreak): Please find the most recent up to date IIMarch form, the Directorate of Quality, Safety and Engagement would be grateful that practices now submit this one as any previous versions will be out of date, the process remains the same.

Community Pharmacy Access to the GP Record via the SIDeR Shared Care Record: Rollout of EMIS Viewer to Community Pharmacy has stopped owing to IT provider restrictions. The GP Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (CPCS) is being set up in Somerset and it is vital that pharmacists can access the correct, up to date information to make better decisions when providing advice. As the Somerset Integrated Digital e-Record (SIDeR) Shared Care Record (SSCR) is now active it was agreed with inter alia the LMC that pharmacies be granted access to the GP Record only via the SSCR on a secure HSCN web connection. A pilot with the 13 pharmacies currently with EMISV is planned with rollout if successful. The dataset available on the SSCR is more limited than EMISV but the Local Pharmacy Committee (LPC) say that essential information is available and work to get more is planned. Access will only be for direct care. Audits will ensure appropriate use and the LPC will be training pharmacists on the SSCR. Pharmacies will be signing both the Level 1 Overarching Somerset Information Sharing Agreement (ISA) and the Level 2 SIDeR ISA before being granted access. Currently 63/ 65 Somerset GP Practices have records enabled to view via the SSCR. You can ask questions about this change before Monday 30 August 2021. If none are received then access for pharmacies will start from September 2021. The proposed Use Case for Community Pharmacy access and also the Data Protection and Impact Assessment completed by the SIDeR Information Governance Lead will be in the CCG bulletin on Monday.

DVLA: During the pandemic many drivers' licences have expired. The DVLA initially gave extensions so that people could continue to drive and work. Many of these are coming to an end and so some are being told by DVLA to ask their GP if they are “fit to drive” under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. GPs are not usually qualified and may not be indemnified to advise patients whether they are fit to drive. In normal circumstances factual reports are sent to DVLA so that their expert medical advisers can decide upon fitness. If a GP were to provide an opinion that their patient was ‘fit to drive' and then there was an accident the GP might be liable. This would not be covered by the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice as this is not NHS work.
We recommend writing to the DVLA explaining that as a GP your place is not to provide an opinion as to an individual’s fitness to drive but that you can provide factual information about your patient’s health with their consent. Practices may wish to publish an explanatory note on websites or noticeboards, so that patients are forewarned about their policy. If a GP chooses to produce a bespoke report prepared for the DVLA for a patient a fee may be charged.


Kind Regards



Jill Hellens

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

Tel: (01823) 331 428            
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