Mword Issue 97 – Dr Michelle Drage’s latest update for GPs and practice teams

  • Mword

9 May 2022

Dear Colleague

“Living With Covid” – the hidden impact on capacity and safety

NHS England tell us that Covid related staff sickness and absence is falling… in London’s NON-GP organisations…

But this is not what we are witnessing with GP and staff sickness and absence right now in our practices. Just because Covid has largely moved out of hospitals doesn’t mean it has moved out of the community. And with no testing and Covid being “just another virus”, we in the community are being hit doubly hard with the Government’s laissez-faire “Living With Covid” policy impacting on both patients and our staff.

So because of “Living With Covid” today we at Londonwide LMCs are declaring that we have sufficient concerns about safety that we are:

  1. Issuing you with our Londonwide LMCs Practice Capacity Self-Assessment Tool to help you prioritise.
  2. Sharing the BMA’s safe working in general practice.
  3. Reminding you of all the posters and resources on our GP State Of Emergency site.
  4. Asking you to complete a short sharp survey: Not Living With Covid (or “How Is your practice Living With Covid”).We’re asking has your staff team experienced staff absence/ sickness within the past month (April)?

If you are unable to run a full staff team, seriously consider whether you can operate safely, and liaise with your CCG should staffing levels become such that you are unable to deliver services. Prioritise workload to match capacity during these extremely challenging times.

We are currently unaware of any regional advice, offers of additional support or contingency plans to help manage the significant demands on general practice resulting from the current national approach to managing Covid, but will keep asking.

And let’s not forget what we can do ourselves:

As part of the regular room stock checks, practices should ensure that PPE, including face masks, is available in all rooms both clinical and non-clinical for ongoing infection control and don’t forget the importance of good ventilation.

Current guidance still recommends that all people attending the practice wear a facemask, this includes all of us and our teams as if we don’t wear them we can’t expect patients to.

In the meantime, look after yourself and each other. If you need any additional help or are worried about burnout, please reach out to us via our GP Professional Support Network (GPPSN).

As ever, I welcome your feedback at The team of experts and leaders here at Londonwide LMCs are by your side. Especially when it feels like nobody else is.

Keep well. Stay safe.

With best wishes




Dr Michelle Drage MBBS FRCGP
CEO, Londonwide LMCs