Welcome to our Autumn 2022 newsletter updating on the current issues being addressed by Newham LMC on your behalf. We regularly participate at Practice Council and the Newham Health Collaborative webinar, but please continue to relay any information about difficulties you are experiencing. We are keen to maintain a strong, unified and purposeful voice for GPs within Newham and we can only do that with your help. Therefore, I encourage you to engage with your LMC representatives and PCN CDs to feedback any relevant experiences, both positive and negative, so that we can have impactful discussions with the relevant parties.
Commissioners are bringing out new Network Contract LESes with the intention to secure financing, simplify documentation and be proof against future changes. The LMC is engaging with this process to ensure they work for practices and provide stability. The contracts are at the practice level, and provide for networks (including but not limited to existing PCNs) to have roles in delivery and support.
Data Protection Officers
Questions were raised at the LMC about the commissioning of a different Data Protection Officer service. The new commissioned service will be available going forward, and will still be accountable to the practice to which they are providing advice. There will still be a named contact per practice providing a confidential link on data protection questions. The previous DPO provider is still offering services privately, at practices’ own expense. The ICB has agreed to learn from not communicating the change well.
Secondary care service issues
LMC members have met with the medical director of Newham hospital to follow up on issues reported and to seek improvements to communication with GPs – changes expected include consultant weekly on-calls and better checking of discharge letters, and potentially a guidance sheet for locums on hospital practice. The LMC will pursue issues further and would be grateful to be informed of examples.
Londonwide LMCs has also conducted an audit of Advice & Referral cases in Newham and neighbouring boroughs to gather evidence of the response times and added workload from this pathway.
There are outstanding questions over supplementary network services (SNS) payments during and after the pandemic. Londonwide staff are gathering evidence and supporting practices to ensure they receive the right payments.
Winter Access payments from last winter are also still being pursued. Londonwide LMCs is asking for payments to be honoured which are currently being withheld over paperwork issues.
Londonwide is pressing for clarity about the requirements to access the current winter’s access money, which has been taken out of IIF.
Mental health bloods and ECG
General practice carrying out blood and ECGs for mental health patients was a pandemic arrangement, and should now be reverting to the mental health team. If there are still inappropriate requests, please share anonymised examples with us. (contact firstname.lastname@example.org or an LMC member)
The LMC, continues to work to ensure that the ICB will assess plans against contractual specifications, without adding new local requirements. A live issue is expectations around the proportion of face to face and other appointments, and the timing of appointments during the week. If practices receive unhelpful asks or performance management, you can ask where they are required by the specification or on what grounds they are made, and please notify your LMC representative if you are experiencing any difficulties with how EA is being monitored.
Protected Learning Time (PLT)
The LMC has secured ICB agreement to include local priorities in the PLT programme. It is also seeking to shape delivery factors like venue, timing, catering and hybrid access. There is to be cover provided for PLT. The LMC also asks for PLT to be available for in-house training if practices can’t attend or don’t need the specific sessions offered across the borough. The ICB will consider requests, via a form.
Minor eye service
The LMC engaged with the ICB about pathways for minor eye conditions. Community optometrists are generally not able to refer directly to hospitals, and refer via the GP. The ICB is investigating but has so far found a number of obstacles to increasing direct referral. It is seeking to make it quicker to access specialists when the referral does come via the GP.
The LMC also raised eye drop prescription requests being sent to GPs. The Minor Eye Conditions Service provider and the ICB medicines optimisation team are working with optometrists to stop this.
Real time information on GP pressure
Londonwide LMCs is piloting a General Practice Alert System (GPAS). This is an easy-to-use digital reporting system to gather real time information about the pressures on general practice. Each week practices will be asked to answer five simple questions on workforce capacity, demand and practice list size. Collection and submission of this important data should only take up to 5-10 minutes once a week.
GPAS will collect anonymised information to report the pressures affecting primary care in a way comparable with the OPEL system used by hospital trusts, about. We hope that this information will help to improve capacity and work life balance for general practice.
The London rollout has begun with pilot practices in Waltham Forest and is to be scaled up over across the rest of the North East London sector and then the rest of the city. You may have already received information.
Who in your practice is the best person to provide this information? We need two named contacts, a primary and then a backup second contact, to ensure that we receive one entry per practice per week. Please send your first and second contact details (name, email, phone number, job title) to the GPAS Project Manager Ann Ayamah, email@example.com or submit these via https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/99BFF6H as soon as possible.
We will be providing lunch and learn sessions over the coming months, so all doing this will be familiar with the system. Information on this will be on our website and via our marketing and advertising of events, so please keep a look out for the sessions. There are also written instructions with the weekly data request emails. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Ann Ayamah, Project Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Tammy Hibbert