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Somerset LMC Weekly Update Friday 23 February 2018

Date sent: Friday 23 February 2018

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

The Falsified Medicines Directive - New precautions to protect patients

The European FMD, which will come into UK law in 2019, is designed to tackle the growing problem of fake pharmaceutical products entering the legitimate medicines supply chain within the EU and the EFTA countries. Falsified medicines include those with little or no active content, the wrong ingredients, altered packaging, and those where products and/or packaging have been stolen for re-sale or filling with fake product. Although unlicensed internet sites have now become the main source of falsified medicines, there continue to be sporadic cases of them entering the normal UK supply chain. This problem has been around for a long time – some years ago there was a fake statin circulating in boxes that were better manufactured than the genuine product – but the alarming percentage of fake pharmaceuticals already on pharmacy shelves in some less developed countries shows why action is needed.

From February 2019 prescription medicines packs will have to carry a pack specific barcode and an anti-tamper seal and will be tracked using a “National Medicines Verification system” that will in turn link into a Europe wide database. Whenever an item is dispensed by a community pharmacist ( or dispensing practice) the barcode will need to be read and sent to be authenticated by the NMVS, which will confirm if the item is genuine and unused, and then “decommission” it on the system to show that it has been issued and cannot then return to the supply chain.

precise procedure has not yet been sorted out but it will be possible to recommission items dispensed in error but not issued. costs of the new scheme are expected to be largely borne by pharmaceutical producers and importers, but dispensers will have to pay for the scanners needed to read the bar codes into their pharmacy or dispensing system. With a couple of exceptions OTC medicines will not be included. Doubtless we will be hearing more about this as the year continues.

Somerset GP Career Plus Scheme - May be for you if you are thinking of leaving the profession…

Somerset is piloting one of these NHSE initiatives aimed at improving GP workforce retention. We know lot of people who leave general practice still have a great deal to offer, but for one reason or another staying on the Performers List just seems too much trouble.

Career Plus scheme provides three things that we think will help. Direct support, provided by the Somerset GP Locum Agency, for sessional GPs with the administrative tasks required to stay in practice. A web-based booking and matching service and, most important, a discussion and support group for re kindling your enthusiasm. first cohort through the programme evolved into a very valuable expert resource group who were able to bring their combined skill and experience to bear on some knotty problems with intriguing results, both in answering the question, but also inspiring the members to stay on in general practice.

The scheme was originally mainly aimed at GPs coming towards retirement, but we are keen to recruit any GP, whatever their current role, who is thinking of leaving the Performers List within the next year or so. Indeed, the younger you are the greater the potential benefit to general practice locally.

Next group will start in April 2018, initially for six month. We normally meet twice a month on a midweek afternoon, starting with a sandwich lunch at a friendly practice somewhere reasonably convenient for the members. Each session is paid at the LMC attendance rate and you can also claim mileage. Discussion covers a wide range of topics and the programme is not pre-determined: members decide what they want to cover and we go from there. Obviously nobody is likely to get to all the meetings, but we do need members to be reasonably committed for group dynamics to work

If you are interested please contact

tQuest Performance Information

Somerset Pathology Service have passed on some information about the Ordercomms pathology and Radiology requesting/results system following a concern reported by a practice that the system was taking 10 seconds to load.

They report that EMIS have looked in to the loading time of tQuest at GP practices, and thinks that around 10 seconds is the expected loading time for a Practice-to-tQuest link. The process between tQuest being launched from EMIS Web and the tQuest portal appearing is quite complicated: the log in details are passed and checked, the patient demographics are then sent and then checked against the tQuest database which takes a couple of seconds, after which the fields on the tQuest form have to be loaded. Furthermore, The tQuest server is usually under load by multiple users as Ordercomms is the most widely used NHS IT system in the county, with users at all three trusts, GP practices and other sites including SMTC ,other private providers, and NHS Trusts outside of Somerset. As the system is on a server at Musgrove there will also be a small amount of time for data to be sent to and from the server to the GP practice. The 10 second loading time ties in with what several GP practices advised us was normal loading time before problems last year where it was taking minutes to load.

However, if you notice tQuest is taking much more than 10 seconds to load, especially if it consistently around 30 seconds, then please report this to the Musgrove IT Service Desk (tel: 01823 343000). EMIS will need the date and time of the occurrence of slow loading to be able to investigate the specific instance so please make sure you have these details when you call.

Seniority Figures 2014-15

The Final Seniority Figures for GMS GPs in England and Wales for 2014-15 have now been published and are available on the NHS Digital website

MyDiabetes My Way

MyDiabetes My Way ’ is a website (with associated smartphone app) that helps patients improve their self-management of the condition. It has been running across NHS Scotland since 2008 and now has over 35,000 registrants. Patients have to give explicit consent to join in, only they can access their own data in their online accounts (thus becoming their own data controllers) and diabetic-related info is extracted by a secure link with EMIS. This data feeds into the individual MDMW accounts allowing tailoring of the advice generated to the patient’s own situation. There can also be links to information held in secondary care and the screening services. This then represents a real step towards the much vaunted patient-held electronic record. It has been independently evaluated and “… the overall conclusion is that the system is now a useful additional component for diabetes self-care in Scotland. Users report that it helps them with their self-management, with 98% also indicating that it leads to a more productive consultation with healthcare professionals.”

Somerset CCG is keen to extend the current pilot in south Somerset to cover the whole county. To this end Sian Brammer has become the Project Manager for MyWay Digital Health (a spin off company from the original University of Dundee scheme). The LMC executive and our practice nurse advisor are satisfied that this a good idea which will suit some diabetics very well and we support it. There did not appear to be any data processing problems reported from Scotland after extensive experience and we are assured that MDMW is up-to-date with the new GDPR.

European study on eHealth usage by GPs

GPC has asked us to circulate this invitation to GPs to take part in a survey (link) being conducted amongst GPs in all European countries by BDI research.  The study is sponsored by the European Commission with the aim of obtaining a better understanding on the use of Information and Communication Technologies by General Practitioners in their daily activities.

Participation involves answering an online questionnaire with a duration of 15-20 minutes. The result of your contribution will ultimately benefit both healthcare professionals and patients. Please find attached an endorsement letter from the European Commission.  All information you provide will remain strictly confidential, following all applicable data protection regulations and market research associations’ ethical guidelines.

Somerset LMC and Somerset GP Education Trust Recruitment Evening for GPs

Are you a GP or GP Trainee looking for the right practice / employer to meet your career aspirations? Are you a practice with a vacancy or one in the Future?

If you are thinking about partnership, salaried or retainer posts but not sure where to begin and aren't sure what your next steps are then help is at hand and your questions can be answered by attending this unique event where practices from across the county and GPs and GP Trainees can come together and be introduced to each to other to explore options and hear about the innovations that are happening in Somerset Primary Care.

GPs/GP Trainees looking for a vacancy in Somerset can book their place here. The event is free of charge to attend and will be held from 6.30pm to 9.00pm on the 15th March at Taunton Racecourse (light refreshments will be provided throughout the evening).

If you are a Somerset practice who would like to book a table to advertise your vacancy then please book by emailing

Kind Regards


Somerset LMC

Tel: 01823 331428

Fax:01823 338561

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Attached file: European Commission Endorsement Letter Addressed to Physicians.pdf

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