Feb-March 2022 Newsletter

Included in this edition:

  • Dates for your diary
  • Patient online access to records
  • GP contract negotiations and future of general practice
  • Safe working in general practice
  • Policy Exchange report on the future of general practice
  • Datix Reports – ESNEFT
  • Guidance for 2022/23 seasonal flu vaccination programme
  • Mandatory vaccinations for healthcare staff to be revoked
  • Pneumococcal vaccine claims
  • Addendum to PCN Agreement
  • Revised Health Check Specification (Suffolk County Council Public Health)
  • Smoking Cessation service
  • Kings Fund report on Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS)
  • Data on the pressures facing general practice
  • Private Providers
  • Check your NHS pension scheme protection
  • Ordering DWP leaflets
  • Mentorship Training
  • Practice Vacancies


 Please forward this newsletter to all GPs in your practice including any regular locums/sessional GPs.  Please email christinewatts@suffolklmc.co.uk to add names to our distribution list.

Dates for your diary

A series of online seminars by LMC Law – invite details to follow

Wednesday 27th April midday to 2pm:  A Journey through GP World
Tuesday 31st May midday to 2pm:        Practical Employment Law including equality & diversity
Thursday 23rd June midday to 2pm:     PCN Structures, workforce and Incorporation
Wednesday 27th July midday to 2pm:   Mergers and Takeovers

Practice Managers Conference         27th September 2022 at Wherstead Park

 Information, Guidance and News

Patient online access to records

The launch of this has been delayed to July 22 in recognition of the concerns that GPC continue to raise about the program.  GPC will continue to meet with NHSE weekly and updates will be provided in due course. 

In the meantime, practices will find the presentation done by Dr Amir Hannan on the subject very informative – see https://tinyurl.com/HTMCEnablingAccessToRecords

GP contract negotiations and future of general practice

 Despite negotiations between GPC England and NHS England about amendments to the five year contract deal agreed in 2019, NHS England announced last week that the contract amendments will come into effect from 1 April, without an agreement or endorsement by the BMA.

The negotiations reached a stalemate in mid-February when it became clear that NHS England would not be offering an update that would impact meaningfully on patient care, nor provide the support desperately required for general practice as it faces unprecedented pressures and pandemic recovery, despite GPC England suggesting a number of solutions to address some of these pressures, enabling practices to support patients.

Read the full BMA statement here and our response to misleading comments about GPC involvement in the contract changes.

 GP contract 22/23 – guidance for practices

Read the BMA  guidance about the contract changes to support practices in their decision making and next steps.

Safe working in general practice

General practice is in crisis, with increasing patient need and demand, coupled with a shrinking and exhausted workforce, as well as a vast backlog of care following from the COVID-19 pandemic, exerting greater pressure on a system already at breaking point.

As a result of these challenges, GPCE has published a safe working guide to enable practices to prioritise safe patient care, within the present bounds of the GMS/PMS contract. Present resource in general practice is finite, though we must continue to deliver high quality, safe care to our patients. As a result of resource decisions by practices, it may be the case that some patients will regrettably wait longer to access GP care for their non-urgent problems, or are directed to another more appropriate provider.

Policy Exchange report on the future of general practice

GPC were pleased to see that the recent Policy Exchange report of future of general practice, supported by the Secretary of State, recognises the importance of what GPs and their teams do for their communities, and understands that there are some deep-seated problems that need to be urgently addressed, and begins to articulate some ways to make general practice services sustainable for the future. The BMA will be providing a more detailed critique of this report in the coming weeks. Read the BMA statement in response.

Datix Reports – ESNEFT

Practices in the East will be aware that Datix reports are being sent from ESNEFT A&E in relation to inappropriate attendances. This is the context of those practices achieving some of the lowest A&E attendance rates on record.

The LMC continues to engage with the trust on this and would advise practices not to take any further action in relation to Datix reports received in this context.

Guidance for 2022/23 seasonal flu vaccination programme

NHS England has published guidance on the recommended vaccines and eligible cohorts for the 2022/23 seasonal flu vaccination programme.

The guidance highlights that in 2022/23, the NHS flu vaccination programme will only be offered to patient groups eligible in line with pre-pandemic recommendations.  This means that 50-64 year olds, and frontline health and social care workers will not be included in the national programme for the coming year.  Practices will therefor need to revert to their previous occupational health arrangements for the vaccination of practice staff.

Mandatory vaccinations for healthcare staff to be revoked

The proposed requirement of mandatory vaccinations for health and social care staff, which was supposed to come into force in England on 1 April, will be revoked on 15 March 2022.

Pneumococcal vaccine claims

As practices may be aware, from April 2022 it will no longer be possible to submit claims to the NHS BSA for reimbursement of locally procured PPV23 vaccines administered, and practices should only be using centrally procured PPV23 vaccine for immunising their eligible population.

From 1 April 2022, the pneumococcal vaccines (both the PPV23 and Pneumococcal polysaccharide conjugated vaccine) will be removed from the bulk vaccine list, for which claims are made via the FP34PD/D appendix form, and practices will need to submit pneumococcal vaccine reimbursement claims via a prescription form (FP10) for each administration instead.

Addendum to PCN Agreement

LMC Law have completed a review of the PCN template agreement and made some revisions to the schedules – the updated template agreement can be found here

Revised Health Check Specification (Suffolk County Council Public Health)

Practices should be aware that the AF screening element of the health check is optional.  The LMC has not yet signed off the Data Sharing Agreement associated with data extraction for HC invitations and we are awaiting feedback from our legal retainer LMC Law on the suitability of the agreement. 

Smoking Cessation service

From 10 March 2022, an NHS Smoking Cessation Service (SCS) will start to be commissioned from community pharmacies as an Advanced service within the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework. The service allows NHS trusts to refer patients to a community pharmacy of their choice to continue smoking cessation treatment which was initiated during an inpatient stay in hospital (the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation).  

While this is not a service that general practices can refer into, a requirement of the service is to notify a patient’s GP of the outcome of the service provision. Therefore, as the service gradually rolls out over the next two years (with both NHS trusts and pharmacies opting in to provision of the service), practices may receive these notifications as and when their patients are discharged from the service.

Further information on the SCS can be found at http://www.psnc.org.uk/scs.

Kings Fund report on Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS)

The King’s Fund has published a major report on the ARRS, which focuses on four roles — social prescribing link workers; first contact physiotherapists; paramedics and pharmacists — to examine the issues related to the implementation of these roles, looking at the experiences of working in these roles and of the people managing them. 

The report found a lack of shared understanding about the purpose or potential contribution of the roles, combined with an overall ambiguity about what multidisciplinary working would mean for GPs. It also found that successful implementation of the scheme requires extensive cultural, organisational and leadership development skills that are not easily accessible to PCNs.

Data on the pressures facing general practice

Pressures on general practice such as workforce shortages are still as severe as ever, and is evident in the latest data from NHS Digital for the GP workforce in January which shows that there is now the equivalent of 1,608 fewer fully qualified full time GPs than in 2015. This is in addition to the average number of patients each GP is responsible for having increased by around 300 since 2015.

The Institute for Government has produced a performance tracker for general practice for 2021, which draws together data from various sources on the state of general practice and the challenges facing it in the context of the pandemic. It also addresses some of the challenges to recovery and provides estimates for projected demand, concluding that the largest concern for general practice is the need to increase staff numbers.

The Health Foundation’s webpage on understanding activity in general practice has more up to date figures and in particular provides detailed explanations of the scope, quality and detail of GP appointments data, to show what appointment data can or can’t tell us.

The BMA’s own webpage on pressures in general practice data analysis includes key figures on workforce and appointments that are updated each month, alongside what the BMA has been calling for, for general practice. 

Private Providers

The LMC often receives queries about practice responsibilities in relation to patients who have opted to take the private route for treatment.  The following document is useful and contains a template letter to use when responding to inappropriate requests to undertake tests  https://www.bedshertslmcs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Private-Provider-requests-for-investigations-under-the-NHS-FINAL.pdf

Check your NHS pension scheme protection

If you have maintained enhanced protection under the 1995 or 2008 sections, be aware this will be lost when you transition to the 2015 scheme on 1 April 2022. Members should consider opting out of the NHS pension if they want to retain the enhanced or fixed protection and do so by 31 March 2022 – it is important that you ensure that PCSE effects this promptly. Read more

Ordering DWP leaflets

A new contract for Managed Print Services with HH Global Associates Ltd (HHG) started on 21 February 2022, which provides the supply of items to DWP’s external customers / partners, such as the MATB1 maternity certificate, Med 3s and Med 10s for health care professionals. Read more on GOV.UK

Mentorship Training

The SNEE Training Hub are offering mentorship training.  This is open to all primary care staff who are interested in training to become a Mentor. There will be a 15 minute presentation by GP-S (the commissioned provider) about training to become a Mentor, followed by a Q&A session.

The dates are:

  • Wednesday 6th April – 12.30-1pm
  • Tuesday 12th April – 4.30-5pm

Details from Eleanor Ward, Medical Project Lead 07415 638262 eleanor.ward2@nhs.net

Practice Vacancies

Can be found on the LMC Website http://www.suffolklmc.co.uk/jobs


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