February 2021 Newsletter

Included in this edition:

  • PM Training
  • Covid 19 Vaccination Programme
  • Staff with long COVID (England)
  • Nuffield Health – Ipswich
  • Updated GMC guidance on prescribing
  • Local Authority – Primary Care Contract 2021/22
  • Pathway to Partnership: New Partner Development Programme
  • GP Pensions Update
  • Flu vaccine reimbursement 2021/22
  • Amendments to European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) and S1 forms (UK) Regulations
  • New to Partnership Scheme (England)
  • Hempson’s – GP Webinars
  • Practice Vacancies

Download Word Doc Version >


Information, Guidance and News

Key Matters reviewed by the Committee 

  • Covid Vaccination Programme
  • West Suffolk Diabetes Proposal
  • New WS Hospital proposal
  • White Paper – NHS Reform
  • Shared Care
  • 2WW pathway
  • Discharge Medications
  • CCG Liasion
  • ESNEFT Liaison
  • WSFT Liaison


PCN Training

The LMC has been approached about putting on some training for PCNs – please do get in touch with your suggestions for what topics you would like to cover  christinewatts@suffolklmc.co.uk 


PM Training

A Complaints Handling Workshop (via webinar) has been organised, dates to be confirmed, for Practice Managers or those in the practice responsible for handling complaints.


Covid 19 Vaccination Programme

Second doses  

The Green Book has been updated for patients due to start immunosuppressive treatment, so that for example, if prior to cancer the patient has had therapy or a solid organ transplant they could be offered a vaccine prior to starting treatment, if clinically recommended. This includes potentially having the second dose at 3 or 4 weeks after the first. 

Last week, GPC raised with NHSE/I the need for practice sites to be able to start planning giving second doses by booking appointments.  Last week, LVS (Local Vaccination Service) sites were sent a message about preparing for second dose vaccination clinics (for cohorts 1-2) which should go live week commencing 1 March 2021. The allocated quantity of vaccines will be based on quantity of first dose delivered by the site (full pack unless a pack-down option was provided). The second dose clinics will take place 11 weeks post first dose clinics so the 12 week lead time between doses can be achieved.  Practice sites should be provided with scheduled delivery day of second dose volumes by the end of this week,  and are asked to schedule clinics up to the end of March once the delivery schedule has been communicated. 

It is also believed that it would be reasonable for GP sites to now give all those patients who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine an appointment for a second dose, and to do this for these patients when the first dose is given to reduce the workload involved in contacting patients at a separate time. 

COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment – NHS Digital

Practices will be aware the letter sent out to patients who have recently been added to severely vulnerable group clearly states (as GPC had insisted) that they do not need to contact their GP about the letter, but clearly anxious patients will and are doing so.  GPC has asked that this point has more emphasis for any future letters sent out.

There is no requirement for patients to shield if they don’t want to and should any practice staff receive this letter they could, if they wanted to, continue to work as they have been doing.

The QCovid system has been extensively tested as part of the development, and one of the reasons it has only now become available.  Patients who wish to understand more can be directed to this page COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment – NHS Digital which has a lot of detail about the development and it also has at the top information about how patients can get more information if the page does not answer their questions: If you are a member of the public with a question about COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment that is not answered here, please email risk.strat.spl@nhs.net.


Freeing up practices to support COVID-19 vaccination  

NHSE/I has written to practices and commissioners providing further measures on freeing up practices to support COVID-19 vaccinations, following their letter of 7 January 2021. The letter sets out the arrangements for additional funding for PCN clinical directors, and income protection arrangements for the Minor Surgery DES and QOF (Quality and Outcomes Framework). 


New vaccination information helpline and alternative point of care systems   

A new COVID-19 vaccination information web resource and helpdesk has been set up for practice managers to help find out answers to questions about records of vaccinations.  

New assured point of care systems for recording COVID-19 vaccinations will also be available soon for practices which can be used as an alternative to Pinnacle. This provides greater choice and reduces reliance on any one supplier. As currently happens, all the data will flow into the GP record within 48 hours. These developments are in direct response to requests from GPC England on behalf of general practice.   

Find out more about how vaccinations are recorded, common errors or difficulties and how to get help in these FAQs by NHS Digital.  


Transfer of vaccines 

Earlier this month NHSE/I published guidance on Mutual aid and the transfer of COVID-19 vaccines between Hospital Hubs, Vaccination Centres and Local Vaccination Services. Annex B of the document sets out that providing relevant guidance is followed, the local commissioner should be offering a supportive role in facilitating the movement of the AstraZeneca vaccine within a PCN grouping and not need to seek formal approval for moving the vaccine.  The letter also advises that once moved, the vaccine should either be administered or immediately put in a refrigerator at a practice site within the PCN grouping, and ideally administered within 24 hours or soon as practical over the following days.


Vaccine hesitancy 

Surveys have shown stark differences by ethnic group in attitudes to COVID vaccines, and a quarter of younger women fear it could affect fertility. The BMA has published guidance and resources on how to communicate with different groups about the vaccine. 

The British Fertility Society and Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists has published some COVID-19 Vaccines FAQs to help address some of the vaccine hesitancy relating to fertility.  

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and Royal College of Medicine have published a statement responding to misinformation around COVID-19 vaccine and fertility. RCOG has also published information and advice for pregnant women about the COVID-19 vaccine, including an updated Q&A section.  


Staff with long COVID (England) 

CCGs should now have fully allocated their share of the £150m funding to practices to maintain capacity in general practice. This funding can be used when staff are off sick with Long COVID, both for paying extended sick leave for staff that are off with Long COVID and to fill any shortfall to maintain a service when staff are off sick. 


Nuffield Health – Ipswich

Following concerns raised by a practice about transfers of workload from Consultants at the Nuffield Hospital (mainly involving requests to undertake tests or prescribe) there has been reassurance from the Nuffield that this has been addressed with Consultant colleagues and they have been reminded that prescription pads always available in the Outpatient department for their use when seeing private patients.  They have also advised that whilst under local surge arrangements they are hosting Wolverton and Somersham wards from the ESNEFT Ipswich site and that Outpatient department capacity is heavily reduced, to the extent only those patients deemed to be urgent by their consultants can be seen in an Outpatient clinic. Tests required for those patients are still accessible and therefore there should be no reason to request GPs to do this.  

Practices can contact Henry Tapp Henry.Tapp@nuffieldhealth.com (GP and Consultant Relationship Manager) who will undertake to liaise with the Consultants should there be further instances of this happening.


Updated GMC guidance on prescribing

With the increase in remote consultations, it was thought important to highlight that the GMC recently published updated guidance on prescribing to support doctors who are increasingly seeing patients via remote and virtual consultations. 

Key updates include:

  • New advice for doctors not to prescribe controlled drugs unless they have access to patient records, except in emergencies.
  • Stronger advice on information sharing, making it clear that if a patient refuses consent to share information with other relevant health professionals it may be unsafe to prescribe.
  • Alignment with the GMC’s updated Decision making and consent guidance, highlighting the importance of good two-way dialogue between patients and doctors in all settings.

New guidance here:



Local Authority – Primary Care Contract 2021/22

The LA public health team recently sent out the primary care contract documents for sign up.  They have asked us to remind practices that the deadline for sending back is 30th June 2021. 


Pathway to Partnership: New Partner Development Programme

May be of interest – see details here 


GP Pensions Update

See below the update from PCSE:

The deadline to submit the Type 1 and/or Type 2 forms for the year 2019/20 is Saturday 28 February 2021 

NHS Pensions has confirmed that the 2019/20 Type 1 GP and non-GP providers annual certificate and Type 2 medical practitioner self-assessment and associated guidance notes are available to download from their website here.

All forms submitted with accurate information by the deadline will be processed in time for the August release of the Total Rewards Statement by NHS Pensions.

Forms need to be submitted to PCSE using the pensions option on our Contact Us page www.pcse.england.nhs.uk/contact-us/.


Further support and guidance

If members need any support we have lots of useful information available on our website including a simple guide and timeline, where members can find information about adjusting their next contractual payment and some handy tips about submitting forms without a hand-written signature

Here are the top 5 GP Pensions questions coming into PCSE
Q: What dates am I completing form from and to?
A: The NHS Pension scheme financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March each year. The Type 2 self-assessment form should include all pensionable GP income earned during this period because the tiered employee contribution rate is based on aggregate GP income.

Q: I’m a salaried GP. What do I do if I have been on maternity leave?
A: Please ensure you complete the ‘Authorised Leave Tab’ on the Type 2 form. If you are unsure of your actual and employer pensionable pay (deemed pay, full pay) for this financial year you should speak to the practice payroll department.
Q: I am GP trainee what do I need to do?
A: GP Registrar work is classed as officer income for pension purpose, it should not be included on the Type 2 Certificate. If you have only worked part of the financial year as a practitioner member please ensure you use the annualisation calculator.
Q: What do I need to do if I am in an officer post?
A: Officer income should not be included on the Type 2 Certificate. These contributions will be paid over and updated on your record directly by your employer not by PCSE / NHSEI.
The income from an officer employment does not affect the amount of employee contributions due from your practitioner income.
Q: What if I haven’t submitted certificates for previous years?
A: Your current year certificate cannot be updated on your pension record/TRS statement until all missing years certificates have been submitted.


Flu vaccine reimbursement 2021/22 

NHSE/I has issued guidelines on vaccines for use during the 2021/22 flu programme, following the publication of JCVI advice.  The vaccines recommended for use are: 

  • Those aged 65 years and over: aQIV or QIVc (where aQIV is not available)  
  • At-risk adults, including pregnant women, aged 18 to less than 65 years: QIVc or QIVe (where QIVc is not available).  


Amendments to European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) and S1 forms (UK) Regulations

There have been some minor amendments to the GMS and PMS regulations relating to European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) and S1 forms, to allow for reciprocal healthcare arrangements with EU member states. 

The change has been made via the Reciprocal and Cross-Border Healthcare (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 which support the process of EU exit. The amendments are within the contract regulations that govern information relating to overseas visitors (GMS regulation 74F and PMS regulation 67F) – where, if patients choose to provide EHIC, S1 or PRC details on registration, then GPs must forward those details to NHS Digital or NHS BSA.  

The new wording allows for the possibility that, on registration, patients may in future submit other (unnamed) documents which are equivalent to EHICs or S1s, which could be required as part of a “listed healthcare arrangement” between the UK and an EU/EEA country (or the EU). However, at present, the UK government has not agreed any listed healthcare arrangements which establish EHIC or S1 equivalent documents, so for now there is no possibility of patients submitting them. 


New to Partnership Scheme (England) 

The New to Partnership Scheme was launched in England in July 2020 (backdated to April 2020). So far about 400 applications have been approved and many more are being processed. NHSE/I has now finalised the S96 contract for GMS practices, which forms the agreement between the practice, the new partner and NHSE/I. This contract has been agreed with the BMA.  These are now being sent out to GMS practices which will when signed by the partners release the funding to the new partner.  Contracts for PMS practices are expected to follow shortly.  

Read the guide to applying for the GP partnership scheme, which will help you navigate what can be a complicated application process. 


Hempson’s – GP Webinars

Hempsons have launched a free GP webinar programme covering a wide range of GP related topics and will run throughout the year.  Each webinar is around an hour and is aimed at GPs and practice managers.  For details on registration see  https://www.hempsons.co.uk/webinars/ 

« Back to Latest News