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Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 20th January 2023

Date sent: Friday 20 January 2023

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

MD Soundbites (including this week the General Practice Alert System Report)

Always learning!! I hope you have had a good week… Over the last week I was reminded of the professionalism of our non-clinical colleagues as I stood waiting to speak to one of the team in the practice. They were faced with a patient who perceived that they needed an immediate appointment. There was no life saving intervention needed but the receptionist skillfully addressed the perceived issue and negotiated a compromise that was acceptable to both parties. I watched as the receptionist kept their calm and skillfully managed the situation. At the GPPB this week we heard how skilled leadership from managers had addressed significant regulatory concerns with a practice and within the LMC this morning I was listening to a colleague in the team who had fantastic ideas about running data initiatives. As doctors we face clinical challenges and pressures every day and often believe that we know best. However, perhaps sometimes we need to just take stock and recognise that many of our management and non-clinical supportive teams know best and we are better placed to share the problem than solve it ourselves! We need to look after all our staff and like us are under immense pressure due to work load stress – so spare a thought and make certain we look after them!

How do you share uncertainty about how to manage a clinical issue? I discussed the management of microscopic haematuria in a well child with a fellow GP a few weeks ago. We concluded that I would write an A+G letter, the reply was excellent and the guidance had come from  Some of the PIER guidelines I thought others may find useful. The other are the excellent clinical updates in FourteenFish especially on the management of the menopause! If like me you need to brush up on best practice in this area have a look. Sharing information between us is critical for safe care and maintaining our sanity in practice. The LMC are seeing clinicians who feel they are working in silo and not having time to talk to colleagues – taking some time to reflect and share our thoughts can only help us practice safely. Improving patient safety is also a focus for the NHS. Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) is NOT a contractual requirement for primary care at the moment but is something that we may wish to adopt in the future - click here if you want more details.

I wanted to say a huge thank you for those practices that have been able to complete the General Practice Alert System (GPAS) this week. You can view it through the this link and explanation here. We have had responses from 84% of practices and this is just phenomenal – thank you all so very much. With this level of engagement we can really start to build a picture of our pressures and help create some solutions. The data is very clear that last week we were operating at Opel 4, trends will follow in due course as we run this over weeks and months but the message is clear - practices are under extreme pressure. We would welcome your further comments and further thoughts. This data will now be a part of the system escalation calls (individual practices data will not be shared) and is the start we needed. Once again thank you for your engagement – this really matters.

Finally we are awaiting the final position on Winter Resilience Payments from the ICB. We are assured that we will be hearing imminently.

All the best everyone and look after yourselves.


Medics Money GP Partnership Course - for GP Partners by GP Partners: This online course is suitable for new and prospective partners in GP practices who want to learn non-clinical skills as a partner and is suitable for GP partners, nurse partners, practice manager partners, pharmacist partners and physio partners. The course can be funded through the New to Partnership Training Grant. Next course starts 28/2/23. Alternatively, you may wish to try out the podcasts Latest medical accounting info and tips from our medical accountant blog (

Financial Support for Families with a Known Social Worker: We are pleased to hear that the Somerset Household Support Fund will be continuing for a further year. It has been of huge support to families. Financial support includes: food, white goods, nappies, clothes and fuel, school holiday food vouchers, warm spaces for families. For further details Somerset Household Support Fund. Families can apply directly, or through health visitor, social worker or village agent.

GP Practice - Secondary Care Collaboration Forum: This is a new forum, which Somerset Foundation Trust hope will contribute to strengthening colleague interactions and relationships. The idea is that it will be an informal time for discussion of perhaps one or two items. This may be around an idea a department may have, or a problem that keeps repeating and someone would like to raise. This will not be an intimidating space and we would love to hear from all parts of our GP practice teams, just come and listen quietly if that feels easier to do. We will have a messaging facility for those who want to listen and comment later. The first meeting will be on Tuesday 31st January 1-2pm on Teams, with more information in the LMC bulletin on the 27th.

Menopause in the Workplace Webinar 2.2.23: Practice Managers - Can you Afford to Miss this Meeting?! Dr Juliet Balfour will be giving a short presentation and then holding a Q&A session on how the menopause can impact on your female workforce and what you can do to help. We know that 10% of women leave a job due to their perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms. More awareness and support at work can improve efficiency and morale and reduce sick leave, resignations and even employment tribunals. Dr Balfour is a BMS accredited menopause specialist running the Somerset NHS Menopause Service and is also the Somerset Menopause Fellow. Booking details here

Safe Surgeries Programme: University College London are updating the safe surgeries programme and would like to share their ideas with GP receptionists, please share this flyer with further information with your team, they are also thanking them for their time with a voucher for £25.

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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