GPC News December 2014
Link to PDF: GPC News December 2014
The GPC held its meeting on Thursday 18 December and this newsletter provides a summary of the main items
CQC Update (England only)
Following the CQC’s introduction of intelligent monitoring, based on a narrow range of indicators, the GPC
wrote to Professor Steve Field to express concern about the process and the way GP practices had been publicly
banded ahead of inspection.
The GPC argued that the data used to band practices had been published without proper context and was
misleading patients. The information did not take into account the differing circumstances in which GP practices
operate, including levels of deprivation in the practice population, the level of support the practice receives
from community services, or the state of its facilities. These and other factors outside the practice’s control had
a major impact on how well it performed against these indicators.
It was predictable that the publication of the indicators and in particular the bandings for all GP practices in
England would result in hostile press coverage that did not reflect the reality of good health care being delivered
by the vast majority of them. While the CQC stated on its website that “intelligent monitoring” was not a
judgement on GPs that is exactly what it became, with some uninformed and inaccurate stories at both a local
and national level. The negative reporting in local media was particularly damaging as GPs and their practice staff, rooted as they are in local communities, had their reputation undermined with practices being subject to
Subsequently, on 5 December, the CQC announced that it was revising the intelligent monitoring indicators, as a
result of which a number of practices were placed in different bandings. The GPC reacted strongly to this
announcement, urging for the banding system to be withdrawn.
The GPC is now considering whether any further action might be possible on behalf of practices who were
banded inaccurately. We would like to hear from any practices that were subsequently informed by the CQC
that had been placed into the wrong band. Please contact Greg Lewis in the GPC secretariat with details.
Co-commissioning (England only)
The GPC recently published its guidance about co-commissioning (available on the BMA website.). This guidance
is designed to inform GP practices and LMCs about co-commissioning, including the commissioning and
performance management of general practice contracts. It is important that all practices understand these
changes and their implications. Practices should be aware of what is happening in their area so they can
exercise their rights as a member to democratically influence the decision of their CCG.
This guidance follows the release of NHS England’s plans for primary care co-commissioning, outlined in the
‘Next steps towards primary care co-commissioning’ report [available on the NHS England website].
The Next steps report provides information on the scope of co-commissioning arrangements that CCGs can
apply to take on board from April 2015. This includes the option for CCGs to maintain their current
arrangements and not apply for any of the co-commissioning models proposed.
The three models described in the report are:
(1) greater involvement in primary care commissioning,
(2) joint commissioning with area team (application deadline is 30 January), and
(3) delegated commissioning (application deadline is 9 January).
Amongst the many changes outlined in the report, a number are of great concern to the GPC. These include the
proposal to extend the following powers to CCGs who take on board delegated commissioning:
? newly designed enhanced services;
? design of local incentive schemes as an alternative to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF);
? the ability to establish new GP practices in an area;
? approving practice mergers; and
? making decisions on 'discretionary' payments (e.g. returner/retainer schemes).
The GPC will be issuing further specific guidance covering conflicts of interest in early 2015.
Personal Independence Payments
From 26 January 2015 DWP will extend the areas in which existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants
will start to be reassessed for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
From 26 January DWP will further extend the rollout of PIP natural reassessment to some DLA claimants living in
the postcode areas beginning G (Glasgow), NE (Newcastle), WA (Warrington), WN (Wigan), DH (Durham), SR
(Sunderland) and IV (Inverness) where:
? an existing DLA claimant’s fixed term award is coming to an end,
? they are approaching age 16,
? the DWP receives information about a change in their care or mobility needs, or
? an individual chooses to claim PIP instead of their DLA.
The DWP had said it would take a controlled approach to the introduction of PIP, including the reassessment of
existing DLA claimants. In the areas chosen to extend the natural reassessment rollout, the DWP reports the
assessment provider has sufficient local capacity to handle the increased volumes.
The DWP will continue to monitor progress before making any decisions on extending natural reassessment
Existing DLA claimants who have a lifetime or indefinite DLA award will not be affected until at least October
2015, unless DWP receive information about a change in their condition that would affect their rate of payment
or if they reach the age of 16.
Payment of NHS Pension Scheme contribution
Employers who do not pay NHS Pension contributions on time, may be charged interest at a rate of 4.7% pa and
an administration charge of £75.00.
Please see the employer newsletter for further details and a recommended processing schedule for the
remainder of 2014/15.
If you have any enquiries please email email@example.com in the first instance.
Sessional GPs monthly e-newsletter
The second monthly e-newsletter for sessional GPs was sent out last Thursday. It focuses on the recent BMA
Conference for sessional GPs, initial findings from our survey on sessional GP experiences of appraisal and
revalidation and working as a GP appraiser.
You can view this newsletter on the BMA website.
The newsletter has been sent out to all the sessional GPs on the BMA's membership database but to ensure that
it gets to as many sessional GPs as possible please distribute the link as widely as you can. Using the new format
it is also possible easily to highlight different sections of the newsletter via social media.
BMA 2015 research grants
The BMA was among the first of the professional bodies to award grants and prizes to encourage and further
medical research. Ten research grants are administered under the auspices of the Board of Science, all funded
by legacies left to the BMA. Grants totalling approximately £500,000 are awarded annually. For further
information on the 2015 research grants, and to apply, please visit the BMA website. The application deadline is
9 March 2015 at 5pm. Applications are invited from medical practitioners and/or research scientists, for
research in progress or prospective research.
Please disseminate this information as widely as possible, in particular to any potential applicants.
If you have any questions about the BMA research grants, or would like to receive alerts about them, please
contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7383 6755.
Launch of MEDFASH educational tool on HIV testing for primary care
MEDFASH has developed HIV Testing in Practice (HIV TIPs), an online educational tool, to help increase rates of
HIV diagnosis in primary care. Launched in National HIV Testing Week, the interactive webtool will enable GPs,
practice nurses and their teams to raise their knowledge of HIV and enhance their confidence in offering HIV
testing. This in turn will reduce the avoidable illness and deaths that still occur because of late diagnosis.
GPs or practice nurses who wish to increase their own skills in HIV testing, or who would like to work with their
teams to boost overall testing rates, will find plenty to do using HIV TIPs. It provides updates about HIV testing
in primary care and includes patient stories, quizzes, group exercises, downloadable teaching materials and an
HIV testing audit tool. It will help GPs and practice nurses to:
? find out more about the importance of HIV testing in general practice
? reflect on obstacles (barriers & challenges) to HIV testing
? improve their own ability to diagnose HIV
? improve their team's ability to diagnose HIV
? change HIV testing practice in their team.
TIPs can be accessed at http://www.medfash.org.uk/hiv-tips
On behalf of the GPC secretariat, we wish you all a joyful and restful Christmas and a happy 2015.
The GPC next meets on 15 January 2015, and LMCs are invited to submit items
for discussion. You may like to review these, beforehand, with the
representatives in your area who serve on the GPC. The closing date for items
is 6 January 2015. It would be helpful if items could be emailed to Nadia Kalam
at email@example.comH. You may also like to use the GPC’s listservers to
exchange views and ideas.
LMCs are reminded that their regional representatives can provide more detailed information about the
issues covered in GPC News, and other matters. Other members of the GPC would also be pleased to accept
invitations to LMC meetings wherever possible. Their names and addresses are in the GPC Yearbook. The
secretariat can also provide a written background brief if required, but it would be helpful to have such
requests well in advance of your meetings.
Finally, if LMCs require assistance on local issues, they can also contact the BMA’s local offices: addresses are
on page 3 of the GPC’s yearbook.
This newsletter has been sent to:
Secretaries of LMCs and LMC offices
Members of the GPC
Members of the GP trainees subcommittee
Members of the sessional GPs subcommittee