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Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 22nd October 2021

Date sent: Friday 22 October 2021

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

UPDATE ON NHS PRESSURES: Part of the LMC’s job is to represent general practice at “escalation calls” when the system is struggling. These are now happening daily or even more often. When GPs are getting demoralising abuse in the media it is important to know what the problems really are. On Thursday we heard that there were 170 patients in YDH & MPH who no longer needed to be in hospital. Community hospitals, care homes and community services were all also struggling with staff shortages or closures owing to COVID restrictions hence the lack of patient discharges from the wards. Despite the Herculean (or should that be Sisyphean?) efforts of the teams involved the inevitable log jams in the A&Es are causing ambulances to lose time at hospitals and so add to long delays attending patients at home. Devon Doctors Clinical Assessment Service is working flat out to validate NHS111 ambulance and ED dispositions with good results but nothing is enough. Incidentally 111 reported no cases of patients telling them they had not been able to contact their practices. We all know the NHS is struggling like it is the depths of winter but there is no reason to think that primary care is not punching above its weight as it usually does. Ignore anyone who says you are not working hard enough. It is not true.

PRACTICE SITUATION REPORT - A THANK YOU FROM THE LMC: We are grateful that this week 58 of the 63 practices replied to the Sit Rep. This provides invaluable information when the LMC is involved in discussions with, and to improve understanding in, the wider local NHS.

FLU VACCINATION GUIDANCE ON ACCESSING CENTRALLY SUPPLIED FLU STOCK: DHSC has published guidance  for getting centrally supplied flu vaccines this season. To achieve higher vaccine uptake rates this year DHSC has secured an additional supply of influenza vaccines available from early November for practices and community pharmacies to top up local supplies where most needed. Practices should determine if there is a need for further flu vaccines by assessing current uptake rates in eligible cohorts and will be able to place orders for this stock from 18th October.

PRIMARY CONNECT USERS/PRACTICE MANAGER:  Over recent years YDH has provided Primary Connect to help identify patients who have been admitted, recently attended or been discharged. This has been valuable in assisting patient care in MDT/huddles. Unfortunately the technology was unavailable when Silverlight became End of Life on 12th October. To find a suitable replacement there are now replacement dashboards to deliver cleaner information in a more responsive way. If your team needs access email with your Windows login and practice ODS code.

INFECTION CONTROL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRIMARY CARE: The UK Health Security Agency published recommendations for changes to Infection Prevention and Control Guidance (IPC) in primary care this week following previous recommendations which focussed on changes in elective care.  The main amendment is the reduction of the 2 metre social distancing rule to 1 metre, highlighting the need for appropriate mitigation. The BMA has already made the point that even 1m distancing will be difficult for some smaller surgeries and as such there will still have to be a reduced capacity in some practices and buildings. The guidance strongly emphasises that local decisions and local risk assessments will ultimately govern judgements such whether a face-to-face consultation is appropriate and where physical distancing can be safely reduced, which we welcome. It is therefore for practices to determine what arrangements they have in the surgery. The full guidance will be published shortly.

LMC LETTER TO SOMERSET MPs: Readers will recall the LMC contacted the five Somerset MPs regarding the crisis in general practice and the latest NHSEI “support” package. We are pleased that three of them have now contacted us to arrange visits to the frontline. You will also to be pleased to hear the MPs report messages from constituents commending their practices including positive experiences among their own office teams. (If anyone has any influence with the MPs for Yeovil or Bridgwater & W Somerset the Medical Director would be pleased to hear from them.)

NON SPECIFIC SYMPTOM RAPID DIAGNOSTIC SERVICE (NSS RDS) FILTER TESTS: Dr Rupert Sells writes: We are receiving a steady number of referrals and we hope GPs are finding the service useful. But we must remind colleagues that the filter tests are required to be reviewed prior referring to the NSS RDS. Details are on the NSS RDS referral form and can be requested via the RDS tab on Order-Comms. Additional tests can be added as appropriate, e.g., a coeliac screen for a patient with weight loss. Referrals without filter tests can mean a patient missing being referred to a specific 2 WW pathway causing delay and distress. If weight loss is a concern please code a recent measurement in EMIS which will be included in the NSS RDS referral on C the Signs.  We value your feedback on NSS RDS and want to hear suggestions for improving to the service - email

DAMN eRD!: Somerset CCG has got funding from NHSEI to increase electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD). The South West Academic Health Science Network has run a pilot with Taunton Central PCN with the DAMN [not an acronym apparently!] partnership. DAMN offers a 12-week programme to train PCN and practice staff on eRD which the CCG will fund for the other 12 PCNs. The plan is to enrol PCNs in Nov - Dec and start from January 2022. There will be a “small amount” of incentive funding per PCN to engage with this initiative. Please think about who in your PCN/ Practice would be best to train. The CCG will be in touch later for contacts. The majority of the programme will be virtual, but there can be face-to-face sessions if requested.

PAEDIATRIC DECISION WRITTEN SAFETY NETTING ADVICE: We are grateful to Dr Mark Eggleton of Devon Doctors for passing this useful resource from the CAS. Condition-based safety netting advice can be sent to parents as links to the appropriate condition page on the website via SMS so could prove very useful to reinforce the verbal safety netting you already give, particularly where you are closing the case at the telephone stage. Safety netting & parent info sheets :: Healthier Together (

ADVANCED PRACTICE (AP) ANNUAL FUNDING OPPORTUNITY FROM MARCH 2022: Health Education England have announced that as of March 2022 they will run an annual cycle for submissions of expressions of interest (EOI) for AP funding across the SW. There will be only one opportunity to apply each year and it will be at system level and not for individuals to apply. More information will be sent out as it becomes available. This is just giving practices and PCNs the 'heads up'. The Training Hub will be happy to receive any early EOIs by email to:

CPD FUNDING - ACCESS TO UPSKILLING MODULES AND COURSES: We are aware there is difficulty gaining access to modules at UWE. Remember: now that the CPD funding sits with practices and PCNs, staff can apply to any Higher Education Institute (HEI)/University, or College, or on-line education provider. There are similar modules to UWE available at Plymouth and Bournemouth universities so please search their websites. These links may be of some help for those seeking Advanced Practice Modules: Bournemouth: Research Methods for Health and Social Care - This unit is part of the MSc Health Research, but it can also be used towards the MA Advanced Practice. Plymouth:

WORKFORCE HEALTH AND WELLBEING: It is difficult when things are frantic to think about looking after yourself but this is, of course, precisely when you need to do it most. Therefore we strongly recommend finding an hour to watch a recent joint Training Hub/LMC webinar about the Somerset emotional wellbeing hub and other resources to support emotional health and wellbeing.

WELLBEING LEAD FOR PRIMARY CARE GENERAL PRACTICE: As part of the new Somerset Emotional Wellbeing Programme described in the above YouTube presentation we also have won national funding for providing additional help in primary care. To help us with this we want to appoint a Wellbeing Lead for primary care general practice to work with the project team one day a week to help us roll out our offer of resources, training and support across everyone working in GP practices and PCNs. This opportunity is open to clinicians and non-clinicians. The day will be reimbursed at a maximum of AFC Band 8a and the post will be for at least 8 months. Expressions of Interest to be sent to by Friday Oct 29th 2021.

GP PREMISES INTERACTIVE WORKSHOPS: Veales Wasbourgh have developed interactive workshops in partnership with healthcare surveyors Osmond Tricks , covering the essentials on GP premises, with a focus on development, valuation and leases. Full details dates and joining instructions can be found here, please note they are all on a first come first served basis and are limited to 15 per workshop.

Kind regards


Jill Hellens

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

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