LMC Email update Dec 2015
Date sent: Wednesday 23 December 2015
Email sent by Wessex LMCs, on Tuesday 22nd Dec 2015
On behalf of your LMC I would like to send you seasonal greetings, and wish you and your family a Happy Christmas and New Year.
I am writing this email on the shortest day of the year, supposedly mid winter's day (although not much sign of that yet), thinking about 2016 and the opportunities the future holds for our profession. There is no doubt that the NHS in general and general practice specifically is facing some of the most difficult challenges since the inception of the NHS in July 1948.
On the 25th Nov 2015 the Government published its spending review. The good news for the NHS was that it received a £3.8bn uplift next year to its budget of approximately £100bn.
Hospital Trusts are already declaring deficits this year totalling more than £1.6bn. A sustainability fund of £1.8bn will be established from the uplift to support Hospital Trusts. Each Trust will have to bid for this additional funding and it will be tied to financial performance, access and transformation.
NHS England have committed to increase primary care funding by 4% or more for each on the next 4 years. Clearly this is better than what we have received in the past but as yet there are no details as to how that resource will be spent. Primary care needs significant investment and more than 4% to enable it to manage the increasing workload even before you start the transformation to a service that is less dependent on hospital based care. There is a commitment to invest significantly more in mental health and community services but again the devil will be in the detail.
If there is a serious intention to transform the NHS that is able to deliver out of hospital care at scale and become less dependent on hospital based care there needs to be far more investment in the out of hospital model. Much of our work at the LMC is focused on trying to achieve this end - more funding into core general practice, more services to support GPs in terms of delivering care and greater flexibility in terms of workforce.
Fit note data extraction and publication – important information for practices
Practices have received a communication from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) on the extraction and publication of fit note data. The extraction is intended to allow the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to collect data on fit note usage to inform policy development and evaluate the Fit for Work service.
The data being collected will be fully anonymised and will include:
The number of computer-generated fit notes issued;
The number of patients recorded as ‘unfit’ or ‘maybe fit’ for work;
Fit note duration;
Health condition type aggregated to high-level diagnosis code;
Location, including CCG area;
Whether workplace adaptations were recommended.
The Joint GP IT Committee of the BMA and RCGP (JGPITC) was consulted on this data collection and has taken steps to reduce the burden on practices and clarify the legal position.
The legal basis for the collection of this data is the issuing of Directions under section 259 of the Health and Social Care Act, and as such it is recommended that practices comply with this legal requirement.
There is also a legal requirement under the Data Protection Act (DPA) for practices to inform patients of the extract through fair processing. The DWP has recommended practices provide a brief overarching statement for patients, for example, on the practice website or notice board. The statement should include links to further information for patients seeking more detail. The template statement, plus links, are available within the briefing pack sent out to all practices. Practices may also wish to inform patients in person when attending the practice for a fit note.
Please note that data will not be extracted for those patients with a Type 1 objection recorded i.e. those who have objected to their identifiable data from leaving the practice for purposes beyond their direct care. These objections will be respected, even though the extract does not include any patient identifiable data.
Data will be collected in February 2016 (to include fit notes issued from December 2014) and published from spring 2016. Aggregated data will be published on the HSCIC website at CCG level and above.
Further information for practices is available online.
Men ACWY for freshers (missed cohort) - updated FAQ
NHS Employers’ FAQ in relation to the missed cohort of Men ACWY vaccination for freshers has been updated to accommodate those who left school but may be older than 17 or 18 but do not fall in to the freshers programme. This is to ensure practices are remunerated for vaccinating these patients.
The updated FAQ reads as follows:
Q: What about teenagers and young adults who left school in the last term of the 2015/16 school year and may be going to university in autumn 2015 but do not meet the age criteria for the two MenACWY programmes?
A: Children who finished school year 13 in August 2015, but are either younger or older than the normal age and are therefore outside the cohorts defined in the specification, are expected to be at similar risk to their peers. As these patients fall outside of the eligible cohorts defined by the NHS England service specifications, they would not be covered by the automated data collections. Where these children self-present for vaccination, practices should discuss the vaccination of these patients with their commissioner on a case-by-case basis. In line with established procedures, where the practice and commissioner agree to the amendment the commissioner will adjust the practice achievement. In the spirit of the agreement, we would expect these practices to be remunerated for vaccinating these patients
All of NHS Employers’ FAQs on vaccinations and immunisations are available on the NHS Employers website.
Cessation of national supply of paracetamol sachets for the MenB immunisation programme
Public Health England (PHE) has informed us that as the temporary supplies of paracetamol sachets, to be given after the doses of the Men B vaccinations for infants have been given, have been fully distributed, the central supply of paracetamol sachets is being phased out.
The updated patient leaflets make it clear that parents will need to make arrangements to have infant paracetamol at home in time for their baby’s first immunisation appointment, and will be available to order in paper copy from late December through the DH Orderline, to be handed out at the time of the vaccination. The full briefing which has gone out to PHE immunisations teams is attached for information.
Maternity locum reimbursement
NHS England has now clarified the maximum period of non-discretionary locum reimbursement for GPs on maternity leave is 26 weeks and is not limited to 20 weeks.
MDU medico-legal advice
The MDU has advised that it wishes to dispel the myth that MDU members could be disadvantaged if they contact their 24 hour medico-legal advice service. One of the MDU’s core services is to provide expert medico-legal advice to members and they positively encourage members to call for advice at any time; whether pre-emptively when they need guidance on how to approach a potential matter, or when something has gone wrong. The MDU receive over 30,000 calls from members to its advice-line every year helping members to avoid potential problems and to mitigate the position if a problem has arisen. The MDU very positively encourages members to contact it whenever they need it’s input.
Contact details are:
UK 0800 716 646
Ireland – 1800 535 935
Fax (UK) 020 7202 1662
Sessional GPs e-newsletter
The December edition of the sessional GP e-newsletter was recently sent out and is available on the BMA website.
The Chair’s message focuses on the Special LMC Conference.
It also features news and information aimed at supporting sessional GPs, as well as blogs from sessional GPs, including one from Paula Wright on how to use clinical IT systems effectively whilst working as a locum GP
The e-newsletter also highlights useful Appraisal tips for sessional GPs
Out of Hours Indemnity Cover - details of NHS England's announcement
BMA online follow up coverage on the recently announced NHSE OOH indemnity cover scheme - click here
GP trainee figures – links to Health Education England’s press release and the GPC response.
GP Training numbers - click here
Health Education England Press release - click here
Care Quality Commission - have your say
You will have read recently the proposal to increase the CQC annual fee for general practice sevenfold.
This has caused outrage amongst the profession both locally and nationally.
One of our Wessex GPs is conducting a short survey about CQC - only one question with 5 options. If you would like to have your say click here - https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HC7VTTZ
Support available from the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund
The Royal Medical Benevolent Fund, the charity for doctors, medical students and their families, has recently released its Annual Review.
In 2014-15 the RMBF helped 212 beneficiaries with financial support, nearly 50% of whom were GPs or GP trainees.
The charity has been helping doctors and their families for nearly 180 years, giving support through times of adversity and hardship which may have been caused, for example, by personal tragedy, financial problems, ill health or an accident. Reaching the doctors who are most in need continues to be both a top priority and a challenge for the charity.
You can contact the RMBF if you are in need of financial support or if you know of a colleague who may need help – please visit the RMBF website.
Dr Nigel Watson
Churchill House, 122-124 Hursley Rd
Chandler's Ford, Eastleigh
Hants. SO53 1JB (Registered Office)