City & Hackney LMC newsletter – June 2023

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Dear Colleagues,

We have recently held the final meeting of the current term for City & Hackney LMC. Below is a summary of the key headlines. Our new committee will begin work in September and an election for the nine positions will open shortly – please look out for that email.

GP and partner engagement
We’ve had detailed discussions on how C&H LMC can improve our engagement with practices. We will be releasing a short survey for each practice to complete so that this can inform some priorities for the new committee when we meet in September. We plan to have a second engagement exercise with individual GPs, including salaried and sessional GPs, at a later date.

We’re on the road to establishing closer relationships with Healthwatch Hackney and our local councillors to improve their understanding of the pressures we’re all facing in general practice and to gain their support. We’re also working very closely with the GP Confederation and Office of PCNs on some exciting developments to local leadership which will maintain C&H’s strong clinical voice within NEL ICS.

As ever, if you or your practice need our support or advice, please contact us at:

Primary Care Access plans
We discussed the impact of recent national contract changes and guidance on how GPs handle patient contacts and provide access to their services. Clarity was sought on which of the asks coming from local commissioners are contractual requirements. Londonwide LMCs have given a video presentation on the subject.

Safe Surgeries
We heard about Healthwatch’s Safe Surgeries work to ensure that vulnerable people can access GP services. The essential message of this work is that ID and proof of address are not required to register with a GP. Practices may wish to see these documents where possible to ensure details are correct, in which case care should be taken not to ask in a way that excludes patients who do not have them. Healthwatch will be offering material for surgeries to display and offering a e-learning course, which the LMC encourages practices to make use of. Londonwide LMCs’ guidance on registering undocumented patients is available here: it focuses on refugees but is applicable to anyone without proof of ID or fixed address.

HIV testing in health checks
The LMC was briefed on plans for HIV testing to be included in some adult health checks on an opt-out basis. The aim is to reduce late diagnosis, and the checks would be for patients with medium or high risk who are already having blood taken as part of the health check.

We were assured that there is minimal additional activity as no further blood needs to be taken and usually no conversation needs to take place with the patient – training will be provided for HCAs on answering questions, but if the patient objects to the test or has further questions they can be opted out. Only a handful of positive results are expected annually across the borough, and they will be handled by the Homerton. If a positive case is identified, the GP will be asked to provide some information to assist in understanding where cases are being found and an additional payment will be made to the practice.

The LMC asked that information be provided to patients to ensure informed consent – it is proposed that posters and leaflets be provided for waiting areas.

Infectious disease outbreaks
We heard from Public Health about outbreaks in London of communicable diseases including pertussis and measles. Public Health is working to engage the Haredi community in managing these outbreaks and accessing services – the LMC asked that this work be expanded to cover Hackney Downs PCN as well as Springfield PCN. We also supported working with community leaders on the importance of immunisation in general, rather than addressing diseases individually once outbreaks have begun.

Best wishes,

Dr Vinay Patel
City and Hackney LMC