Welcome to our latest newsletter which captures some of the work our team has been doing.
We face challenging times as a profession and as a nation but it is more important than ever that we continue to advocate for our patients, our communities and for general practice – the bedrock of the NHS.
We are in this together and thus need your help to stay relevant – do feed back to us about any issues you’re facing – share the good and the bad – together we can make a difference.
During the last Redbridge LMC meeting, PCN CDs raised concerns about the ICS’s attempts to performance-manage the proportion of EA appointments that are face to face. The specification suggests a mix of the type of appointments but doesn’t specify the proportion of the types.
PCNs initially submitted their plans based on an estimate; it was expected that this would be adjusted depending on patient preference and workforce capacity. We are working with PCN CDs, HBD and commissioners to ensure this principle is adhered to and that reporting requirements are appropriate.
Redbridge LMC and Londonwide LMCs aim to support practices. At some point in their lives, most principal GPs desire to reduce their hours or retire from partnership. Such significant changes can place strain on the viability of the practice. The support that practices need is variable but may include trying to find suitable new GPs who would like to join the partnership. It can take considerable time to complete this process and so partners who begin to feel they might in future consider such a change, or might find their practice needing new partners, are encouraged contact their LMC representatives or Londonwide LMCs at the earliest stage.
Patient access to records
The plan to enable all patients to have online access to their records has currently been paused. The BMA has provided advice on this which includes notifying your system provider not to enable this functionality and to consider adding a blanket code to all records to prevent access. Another code can be applied when the individual patient requests access and the record has been checked to enable this. Although this scheme is paused, the LMC would advise that practices have a programme in place to move to enabling compliance with patient access to records. This should include training all staff in when and how to redact data for safe access.
Secondary interface issues.
Redbridge LMC continues to work with BHRUT and Barts Health to improve areas where primary and secondary care interactions are not optimal, including radiology delays, consultant-to-consultant referrals, medical certificates and requests coming back from Advice & Referral pathways. Londonwide LMCs has a NEL-wide operation to evidence and address the burden of work resulting from Advice & Referral. The LMC is engaging with BHRUT to secure access to radiology through tQuest for Redbridge practices. The LMC is also inputting to the design of the Same-Day Emergency Care service, to seek to ensure that there is a simple point of referral and that the right hours are covered.
The LMC is pressing the ICS to help practices find solutions to shortages and other problems with premises, IT and other infrastructure. The ICS recognises the need for this and is making progress with some sites such as the Ilford Exchange and Loxford. There is also work to reprogram and get into use laptops from the national covid programme. LMC members are supporting the ICS in lobbying for IT solutions.
There is some funding available from a training underspend, which can now be used to support the uptake of additional roles. LMC members are involved in advising on the allocation, and seeking to secure recurrent funding to enable ARRS money to be drawn down.
A relatively modest amount of funding has been withdrawn from IIF indicators and allocated to winter support. PCNs can apply for this money. PCNs, the LMC and the ICB have agreed that the process for accessing the funding and reporting on delivery should be light-touch.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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 the Project Manager Ann Ayamah at email@example.com.
Dr Najib Seedat