Office opening hours: 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday. Offices closed on Bank Holidays.
Home Menu Search

Latest News Articles

Please find below the latest news articles from Pulse Today and GP Online featuring Nigel Watson, CEO of Wessex Local Medical Committees. . .

Support scheme extended for overworked Practice Manager. . .

27 February 2014, GP Online

GP representatives are extending a pilot scheme to support practice managers struggling with increased workload and stress.

The ‘PM supporter’ scheme recruited six experienced and working practice managers across the region to deal with requests for help. They can be contacted via email or telephone and the service is confidential.

Louise Greenwood, the education, training and development manager at Wessex LMCs, said they had aimed to create a service that ‘felt like getting advice from an impartial friend.’

The initiative was launched a year ago but is due to be extended since feedback has been so positive.

Ms Greenwood said: ‘I joined the LMC nearly two years ago and was shocked by how many queries we were getting from practice managers finding life very difficult. So we wanted to think about ways to help.’

‘We receive all sorts of queries, from registration issues to payroll, governance queries or health and safety issues. The supporters are financed for two sessions per month and have different areas of expertise. They contact any new practice managers to introduce themselves and offer support, and have been trained to conduct appraisals on their peers if requested.’

Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs, told GPonline.com’s sister website Medeconomics that the situation was reaching crisis point: ‘There has been a slow and steady increase in practices finding the going tough as a result of money being squeezed.

‘But in the past two to three years there has been at least a 400% increase in the number of practice managers contacting the LMC for help and support because their jobs are so pressurised. We barely attend a meeting where practice managers don’t raise this as an issue.’ 

Click here to view full article:  Support scheme extended for overworked practice managers
 

Local QOF opt-outs will erode GPs’ negotiating power. . .

24 February 2014, Pulse

The introduction of the QOF provided a successful incentive for practices to review their provision of care and, where appropriate, make changes, which created better outcomes for patients.

Contract variation is best agreed at a national level, argues Dr Nigel Watson.

Click here to view full article:  Local QOF opt-outs will erode GPs’ negotiating power
 

GPs form radical provider company network across the whole of Northern Ireland. . .

21 February 2014, Pulse

All practices in Northern Ireland are set to form not-for-profit provider companies ‘within six months’ to carry out the work involved in moving services from secondary to primary care, under radical plans formulated by the Northern Ireland GPC.

Wessex LMC chair Dr Nigel Watson said the English legal landscape made the process of forming social enterprises less simple in England, which meant that there was not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ option for England. But he did stress that being not-for-profit was still a very interesting route.

He said: ‘There is a lot of interest in these provider companies being not-for-profit because if we were to set them up to make money off them, and sell them off, that is for many of us not how we go about protecting general practice. There are problems with social enterprises and if you are going to set up a company it has to be a company limited by shares rather than anything else because otherwise you can’t join the NHS pension scheme. So there are all sorts of legal barriers to do with those things and you have to look at individual circumstances for each area.’

Click here to view full article:  GPs form radical provider company network across the whole of Northern Ireland
 

GP practice could face contract termination for closing early twice over Christmas break. . .

21 February 2014, Pulse

A GP practice faces having its contract terminated or being hit with alternative sanctions after being issued with two breach notices for closing early on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Dr Nigel Watson, chair of the GPC commissioning subcommittee and chief executive of Wessex LMCs, said there were more pressing issues for NHS managers to be concerned about.

He said: ‘I think there are really important issues going on in general practice, so I wouldn’t advice a practice or the area team to get into a battle about opening times. I think that is a fight, personally, that we don’t want to have. I’ve got practices who are literally struggling for survival and that’s what we want to be focusing our attention on - not whether we were open or closed on New Year or Christmas.’

Click here to view full article:  GP practice could face contract termination for closing early twice over Christmas break


GP practices offered £20K grants to boost training places. . .

18 February 2014, Pulse

Exclusive Education chiefs have offered grants of up to £20,000 to address ‘capacity issues’ at training practices, as part of plans to boost the number of GP trainee places in general practice.Investigation: Are we at risk of running out of GPs?

Dr Nigel Watson, chair of Wessex LMC, who also sits on the LETB, said that he knew of 20 practices – including his own – who had been given grants of up to £20,000.

He added: ‘The board has been trying to expand the number of training premises, the availability of suitable premises. They have given grants to surgeries to convert additional consulting rooms. My own practice use to have one registrar, but now we have two. We looked at a meeting room and made it smaller to make a consulting room for the other registrar.’

Click here to view full article:  GP practices offered £20k grants to boost training places

 

GP doubts over access pilots. . .

14 February 2014, GP Online

Workforce pressures and doubts over long-term funding put many GPs off a flagship government scheme to extend primary care access, GP leaders have warned.

Click here to view full article:  GP doubts over access pilots

 

Investigation: Competition leads practices to seek new alliances. . .

5 February 2014, Pulse

As millions of pounds of enhanced services are put out to tender, practices need strength in numbers to lock horns with the private sector, finds Alisdair Stirling

Some GPs are ahead of the curve. Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs and the GPC’s lead on commissioning, says his practice in Hampshire has already federated with two others.

Dr Watson says: ‘This enables us to have a single practice manager between the three and to some extent share premises and back-office functions. We’ve also formed a provider company across the whole of the New Forest with 17 practices. This is because CCGs want bids to cover whole localities.’

He cites the example of the Whitstable Medical Practice in Kent – a so-called super-partnership providing specialist services such as physiotherapy and radiography in the community – as the way he’d like to see things go locally.

He says: ‘I’d like to merge our three practices. Then we’d be big enough to offer wrap-around mental health services and separate out long-term care, bid to open seven days a week and take on out-of-hospital care. That’s the model where you can really start getting influence and economies of scale.’

Click here to view full article:  Investigation: Competition leads practices to seek new alliances

 

Fifth of GPs intend to work with other practices to win enhanced services contracts. . .

5 February 2014, Pulse

Exclusive More than one in five GPs are planning to form alliances with other practices when enhanced service contracts are put out to competition, amid warnings that single practice bids are being overlooked when services are put out to tender.Investigation: Competition leads practices to seek new alliances.

Dr Nigel Watson, chair of the GPC commissioning subcommittee and Wessex LMC, said that his practice in Hampshire had already federated with two others.

He said: ‘This enables us to have a single practice manager between the three and to some extent share premises and back-office functions. We’ve also formed a provider company across the whole of the New Forest with 17 practices. This is because CCGs want bids to cover whole localities.’

Click here to view full article:    Fifth of GPs intend to work with other practices to win enhanced services contracts

 

Will QOF opt-out deals sabotage the national contract?

4 February 2014, Pulse

GPs in some areas are being allowed to ‘opt out’ of the QOF and still get paid. Caroline Price asks what this means for the future of the framework – and the national contract

Dr Nigel Watson, chair of the GPC’s commissioning subcommittee and chief executive of Wessex LMCs, says: ‘The QOF is a significant part of GP income. The work done nationally to agree on it cannot be replicated locally and moving, potentially, to CCGs deciding what goes in the QOF is hugely dangerous. I’m not sure the LMCs have the capability or capacity to negotiate the QOF on an annual basis.

‘I’m quite surprised at this, with the “single operating” framework controlled by NHS England headquarters. We were told area teams were part of a single organisation for England. This seems to be driving a coach and horses through it.’

Click here to view full article:   Will QOF opt-out deals sabotage the national contract?

 

Workload pressure threatens practice manager exodus. . .

14 January 2014, GP Online

Pressure on general practice has created a significant increase in practice managers thinking of leaving their jobs and GPs must do more to tackle the problem, an LMC has warned.

Click here to view full article:   Workload pressure threatens practice manager exodus

 

Local area teams block QOF suspension bids as CCGs queue up to copy Somerset model. . .

21 January 2014, Pulse

Exclusive CCGs across the country who have asked to follow the lead of GPs in the South West and opt out of QOF reporting for the rest of the financial year are seeing their requests turned down by NHS England, Pulse can reveal.

Dr Nigel Watson, chair of the GPC’s commissioning subcommittee and chief executive of Wessex LMCs, said many LMCs would have liked to initiate discussions on stopping work on QOF works which will be retired anyway. But he also warned that a wider redesign of the QOF after April, as is planned in Somerset, could undermine the national GP contract.

He said: ‘Bringing in QOF changes early seems like an eminently sensible idea – but I think it’s probably too late for other areas [to do this], by the time we’ve got agreement with the CCGs and the area teams. It would have been helpful if that had been available to all of us early on.

‘I’m slightly more confused by what Somerset are trying to do – which seems to be breaking away from the national contract. QOF is a significant part of GP income. The work done nationally to come to agreement on QOF cannot be replicated locally and moving potentially to CCGs deciding what goes in QOF is hugely dangerous. I’m not sure the LMCs have the capability or capacity to negotiate QOF on an annual basis.’

Dr Watson added: ‘I have to say I’m quite surprised at this with the “single operating” framework, controlled by NHS England headquarters – we were told area teams were very much part of a single organisation for England. This seems to be driving a coach and horses through it.’

Click here to view full article:   Local area teams block QOF suspension bids as CCGs queue up to copy Somerset model

 

Share data to ease vulnerable patient care plan workload, GPs told. . .

31 January 2014, GP Online

GP practices can ease workload fears over care plans for vulnerable patients by working with other health providers, an LMC has suggested.

Click here to view full article:   Share data to ease vulnerable patient care plan workload, GPs told

 

GP expenses warnings as ministers prepare funding announcement. . .

30 January 2014, GP Online

Ministers must increase practice funding in line with rising costs for 2014/15, or risk exacerbating the workforce crisis and undermining services, GP leaders have warned.

Click here to view full article:   GP expenses warnings as ministers prepare funding announcement

 

CQC inspection bill must not fall to GPs. . .

22 January 2014, GP Online

GPs must not foot the bill for the rising cost of CQC regulation, GP leaders warned, as a report suggested fees could double in coming years.

Click here to view full article:  CQC inspection bill must not fall to GPs

 

Specialist GP practices could tackle complex patients' needs. . .

08 January 2014, GP Online

Specialist GP practices for patients with complex long-term conditions could help the NHS adapt to the demands of an ageing population, a senior NHS England official has said.

Click here to view full article:   Specialist GP practices could tackle complex patients' needs

 

Investigation: GPs face battle to retain LES income. . .

2 January 2014, Pulse

Practices could lose millions in funding as CCGs and local authorities put LESs out to tender, an investigation by Alisdair Stirling and Christina Kenny reveals.

Will it be worth it?

Dr Nigel Watson, chair of the GPC’s commissioning subcommittee and chief executive of Wessex LMCs, has identified another potentially major impact of the imposition of competition on general practice.

He claims that while practices may instinctively want to retain provision of services they have historically provided, the economics will require careful consideration: ‘Many LES contracts are for quite small amounts of money, relatively speaking, and practices might find that it’s not worth their while as the tendering process can be quite time-consuming and costly.

’And that may mean they have a decision to make about whether they need to federate in order to make it worthwhile bidding. We’re already seeing the beginnings of that and I think some practices will take it a stage further and form their own provider organisations.’

Click here to view full article:   Investigation: GPs face battle to retain LES income

 

Preview of the year. . .

31 December 2013, Pulse

Pulse predicts the key developments this year with the help of a panel of leading GPs.

Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs and a GP in the New Forest, says: ‘The new contract gets rid of some of the hassle factor but nobody’s kidding us that we’re going to have loads of spare time this year to get things done.

‘It just signals the start of a reduced tick-box, re-professionalised general practice.’

Click here to view full article:   Preview of the year

 

GPs share their career stories: The best working life articles from 2013. . .

30 December 2013, Pulse

Pulse looks back at the best working life features from the past twelve months

Pulse’s classic Working Life feature was revived in 2013, looking at different GPs and what they gain from their work in general practice.

Dr Nigel Watson, nominated in Pulse’s Power 50 list as the leader of ‘the best LMC in the country’, explains what his job as chief executive involves. . .

Click here to view full article:   GPs share their career stories: The best working life articles from 2013

 

Hopes and fears for 2014. . .

19 December 2013, Pulse

The great and the good in general practice give their hopes and fears for 2014.

Dr Nigel Watson, Wessex LMCs chief executive. . .

Hope: We’ve reached the bottom of the downward spiral of workload and despair

Fear: NHS bureaucracy puts barriers in the way of GPs reinvigorating services

Click here to view full article:   Hopes and fears for 2014

 

Analysis: Payments in disarray. . .

4 December 2013, Pulse

NHS England is promising a resolution to the payments  chaos that has dogged practices since April. Alisdair Stirling reports on the key issues.

On the south coast, Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs, reported that ‘all practice managers’ are having problems reconciling payments.

What has the impact been?

The impact on practices has ranged from the frustrating – having to take out overdrafts – to the scary, with the threat of bailiffs turning up at the door.

Some LMCs have been assembling dossiers of all the problems suffered by practices. Birmingham LMC has compiled one such dossier, seen by Pulse, which highlights problems reported by GPs that range from missing LES payments to statements showing superannuation deductions for staff who are not in the NHS pension scheme.

Click here to view full article:   Analysis: Payments in disarray

 

The rewards and challenges of running an LMC. . .

24 November 2013, Pulse

Dr Nigel Watson, nominated in Pulse’s Power 50 list as the leader of ‘the best LMC in the country’, explains what his job as chief executive involves.

Click here to view full article:  The rewards and challenges of running an LMC

 

Providers set to challenge CCG tendering decisions in blow to integration agenda. . .

21 November 2013, Pulse

Providers are increasingly looking to challenge CCGs’ tendering decisions on the basis they require integrated working, in a blow to the Government’s moves to promote greater integration, experts have warned.

Dr Nigel Watson, chair of the GPC’s commissioning subcommittee, said: ‘I know of several companies talking about challenging CCG decisions and also taking legal action. We often hear of this and sometimes it is just bluster. If a patient has a stroke then you need services like an ambulance, diagnostics, primary care services and physio – and we need these to be joined up. Private companies are there to make profit, and I don’t have much sympathy if they are saying they cannot work as part of an integrated service for patients.’

Click here to view full article:  Providers set to challenge CCG tendering decisions in blow to integration agenda

Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs, said problems are continuing.

He said: ‘NHS England owes it to the taxpayer to sort this out quickly. We’ve had a couple of practices locally who found £30,000 in their bank account and didn’t know what it was for. Luckily they were able to work it out and some practices have actually given back money for work they’ve been paid for but haven’t done.’

 

NHS England to ease payment confusion by end of the month. . .

20 November 2013, Pulse

GP practices will receive statements giving a detailed breakdown of what payments are matched to what services by the end of this month, NHS England has said.

Click here to view full article:   NHS England to ease payment confusion by end of the month

 

Commissioners prioritising emergency admissions and dementia diagnoses for quality premium payments. . .

29 October 2013, Pulse

GP commissioners are prioritising reductions in emergency admissions and increases in dementia diagnosis rates to achieve their quality premium payments, as figures obtained by Pulse reveal CCGs’ commissioning intensions on a national basis.

Dr Nigel Watson, chair of the GPC commissioning and service development subcommittee, warned: ‘Mid Staffs taught us that targets per se can be destructive as well as constructive. The BMA’s view is that CCGS should agree what they are aiming at but should not be financially penalised if they fail to get there.’

Click here to view full article:   Commissioners prioritising emergency admissions and dementia diagnoses for quality premium payments

 

CCGs put down marker on their local priorities. . .

29 October 2013, Pulse

The services chosen by CCGs to achieve their quality premiums provide a snapshot of commissioning priorities around the country and point to where longer-term commissioning is headed. Alisdair Stirling reports.

Dr Nigel Watson, chair of the GPC’s commissioning and service development sub-committee, the ethical problem with CCGs getting paid for meeting targets still remains. He says: ‘Mid Staffs taught us that targets per se can be destructive as well as constructive. The BMA’s view is that CCGs should agree what they aiming at but should not be financially penalised if they fail to get there.’

‘The premium is not, generally speaking, worth the work. But for some CCGs, every penny they get will be welcome - especially those who have lost £50m through topslicing. It would be OK if CCGs had everything within their control, but with the system as it is, CCGs could end up being penalised just because their local hospital fails to deliver and that’s not a fair way of doing things.’

Click here to view full article:   CCGs put down marker on their local priorities

 

2013 Pulse Power 50. . .

2 October 2013, Pulse

A bridge between the GPC and commissioners

Dr Nigel Watson comes in at number nine in the 2013 Pulse Power 50 - up one place from last year’s list.

‘If Carlsberg made LMCs, it would be Wessex LMC,’ is how one admirer on our panel put it. Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMC since 2004, has built up an active, thriving organization representing more than 3,000 GPs, and commands huge respect among other medical politicians for his work at a grassroots level. 

As another of his peers put it simply: ‘He runs the best LMC in the country.’

Click here to view full article:   Pulse Power 50 GPs

In this section...

This page appears in...

Download and bookmark...

About this page...

Updated on 04 November 2016 2889 views