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Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 8th December 2017

Date sent: Friday 8 December 2017

All Somerset GPs and Practice Managers  This and previous updates can be found here

SPQS for 2018-2019 The LMC, the CCG, and others have started a discussion in the SPQS Steering Group about the options for 2018-19. Although the final decision rests with NHSE, we believe that the Scheme will be allowed to continue for another year. This year SPQS has perhaps lost its way. Some of the content has proved to be technically difficult and of uncertain value and there is a perception that some elements have been dropped in dropped into it for convenience rather than because they fit the broad aims. We are aware that some practices may be tempted to revert to QOF but that will lose us the opportunity to take the much wider preventative view of health care that a growing proportion of primary care clinicians view as the future. Although the AHSN evaluation of SPQS did not show a decline in clinical outcomes and some increase in patient centred care, the benefits of the scheme are hard to quantify and the drop in QOF numerical reporting has inevitably been dramatic, so although SPQS has been helpful in introducing a quality improvement culture in Somerset general practice, s the challenge is to see how we can sustain this whilst generating some objective measures. SPQS has certainly helped GP recruitment into the county and it needs to continue to be positively attractive and help inspire GPs to come to work in county rather than just being “not as bad as QOF”.

There will be more news over the next few weeks but we hope to have a draft proposal available early in the New Year

Flu Immunisation Uptake By Practice Please follow this link to find flu uptake data as of the end of October charted by practice “L” code. There are individual files for each of the risk groups displaying separately the number and the percentage of recorded risk group covered. There have once again been technical problems with the data collection, so even if you submitted information it may not show on the graphs.

PHE hope to get November data out rather more quickly, but our impression is that coverage is still a little ahead of this time last year. PHE figures for the week ending 30th November currently show a low level of flu activity. The overall weekly influenza -like illness (ILI) GP consultation rate was 7.3 per 100,000 in England, compared to 5.8 per 100,000 the previous week. This is below the baseline threshold of 13.1 per 100,000.

Ear Wax and Aural Toilet You will have seen in the most recent Bulletin from NHSE an item on draft NICE guidance about the removal of ear wax. This suggests that aural toilet using a pulse device is a procedure that should be undertaken in primary care. The LMC agrees that general practice is well placed to offer this service. NICE is, of course, not involved in contracting or payment arrangements, but the guidance gives the LMC useful support for conversations with the CCG about commissioning this service which we believe does not fall within practices’ core contracts.

NHSE Flu antiviral guidance NHS England has published guidelines which set out the contractual position for primary care in terms of administering anti-flu drugs. In a letter to CCGs NHS England outlines the separate arrangements GPs need to make when administering preventative drugs, such as influenza vaccinations.

This guidance is needed as the GP contract relates to the treatment of people who are ill or believe themselves to be ill, but the identification of those at risk of becoming ill and giving preventative drugs is out of the GP contract remit.

Contact for further information:

Workload survey – changes to the hospital standard contract The GPC are keen to find out how changes to the hospital standard contract are, or are not, being embedded in to routine working arrangements. This will help inform our discussions with NHS England, and our work to support LMCs and practices. Please assist us by completing this short survey by Friday 22nd December. If you have any queries please contact Marie Rogerson

SPH and GP+Networking It is now nearly 4 years since Somerset GPs established Somerset Primary Healthcare Limited (SPH) as a collective response to the increasingly competitive world of healthcare provision in Somerset. Over that time the landscape of service provision has morphed multiple times. SPH continues to work for practices, albeit often in the background, so we would like Somerset practices to be able to fully engage with SPH and one another. Whilst we regularly put out briefings, we less often hear back from the jobbing GP or busy practice manager. SPH wishes to change this and open up improved two-way communication both with us as an organisation, but also between local groups and federations.

GP+ Networking is an online communication platform developed by Bridgwater GP Principal Cathryn Dillon that has gained national recognition. SPH has negotiated free access to every GP in Somerset onto this new, secure social media based platform. Our goal is to hear back about daily concerns that SPH might be able to help you resolve. We also want to hear about what skills are already out that that may be developed as we look to meet the coming challenges of ‘General Practice at Scale’.

Supported by both Somerset LMC and the RCGP, GP+ Networking provides network groups to share interests, develop extended roles, and encourage best practice and to act as a safe platform for discussion and debate. It also aims to link GPs with particular interests to others who might act as mentors for career development. Secure file storage allows sharing of protocols and ideas for innovation to spread best practice across the county, and the site is continuing to add new functions in response to members’ demands.

GPs can gain access by going to and clicking ‘Register for GP+’. You will need to use your NHS email address to register initially. A link will then be sent to that address (this may be delayed by your spam filter, so do check your junk mail!). Follow this link to start your registration, and when you reach the payment page simply click on the SPH logo and input the code sphm937423 for free access. You’ll get an approval email within a couple of days after which you can log in to the site with the email and password you set up at the first stage.

Little Things that Make a Practice More Attractive to Locums We are seeing an increase in Locums that are living out of county but who are choosing to work in Somerset,  when one popped into the office this week they suggested a couple of areas of information that would be useful and help them to save time

Kind Regards


Jill Hellens

Executive Director

Somerset LMC

TEL: 01823 331428

Fax:01823 338561

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