Mword Issue 94 – Dr Michelle Drage’s latest update for GPs and practice teams

  • Mword

30 November 2021

Dear Colleague,

Four things bridging last week to this:

1. Political news – a new London health advocate
2. Omicron
3. Parliamentary Inquiry – the future of general practice
4. Conference of England LMCs

1. Political news – a new London health advocate

Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer MP has revealed his refreshed Shadow Cabinet, which sees the appointment of London MP Wes Streeting (Ilford North)as Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary. We are looking forward to connecting with him very soon to provide insight into the challenges facing general practice in the Capital.

Best known for speaking about his upbringing on free school meals in the East End of London, Stepney born Streeting previously described his move to the Shadow Cabinet (as shadow minister for child poverty) as “a proper Labour story” of social mobility. A critic of privatisation of the NHS and some of the more disruptive digital offerings seen of late, the Redbridge resident has a very personal insight into healthcare during the pandemic after being diagnosed and treated for kidney cancer earlier this year. Before being elected to represent Ilford North in 2015, he was head of education at Stonewall and is a former president of the National Union of Students.

2. Omicron

On Sunday night this letter went from the CMO to all bodies who are involved in delivering NHS services, including GPs. It reiterates the advice to the public and rule changes we’ve been hearing over the weekend, for clinicians it advises isolating possible Omicron cases in a side room and ordering a PCR test.

Yesterday the JCVI announced key points:

  • Booster programme extended 18 to 39 year-olds.
  • Older people and those with underlying health conditions will be prioritised.
  • Severely immunocompromised people will receive a fourth dose.
  • Either of the mRNA vaccines – Moderna and Pfizer Biontech can be used as a booster; with AstraZenica as an alternative to mRNA vaccines where a patient has had a previous adverse reaction.
  • 12 to 15 year-olds can get a second dose of Pfizer Biontech 12 weeks after their first.

Essentially, the JCVI plan is to boost the population’s immunity with more boosters at shorter intervals as this will help to get ahead of any vaccine breakthrough.

3. Parliamentary Inquiry – the future of general practice

We are responding to the new Health and Social Care Select Committee inquiry into the future of general practice and would very much welcome your views on what we put in the response. Please send them to in the next few days. You can find more info and the terms of reference here.

4. Conference of England LMCs

Last week was a busy one, wrapping up results of the indicative ballot on industrial action at the Conference of England LMCs. Amplifying the myriad of concerns expressed by the new GPC England Chair, Dr Farah Jameel, the Conference saw a lot of GPs share their frustrations with the direction of the NHS, their working conditions and the public discourse around the profession over recent months.

But it was positive as well, with a lot of mutual support and resolve coming forward in the speeches and contributions we heard from colleagues.

There were very powerful contributions made by our Londonwide LMCs representatives – which can be seen here. If anyone who spoke would like to share the notes of their contributions, please do get in touch and we will share them via the email address below.

As ever, I welcome your feedback at The team of experts and leaders here at Londonwide LMCs are by your side.

Keep well. Stay safe.

With best wishes

Dr Michelle Drage MBBS FRCGP
CEO, Londonwide LMCs