GP and Practice Team bulletin: June 2013

Publications gateway number: 00190

Welcome from Dame Barbara Hakin

We have set out this month a proposed way forward for reviewing PMS contracts. More details are available in the letter to our Area Teams published on website, but it may be helpful to set out the key elements here.

We have said that we want to keep in mind the original rationale for PMS contracts.   So where PMS funding is currently being used to promote innovation and local service improvement, we want to make sure that we are able to sustain these benefits in the new system, with flexibility to reflect local circumstances.

At the same time, we need to move towards a consistent, equitable approach to determining the ‘core’ funding that GMS and PMS practices receive, based on their registered populations, in line with the plans that have already been announced for phasing out the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee over the next seven years.

To this end, our Area Teams will now be working with practices to make sure that we build up a clear national picture of how PMS funding is currently being used and to review with practices and LMCs the services or higher quality requirements that are being delivered from PMS.

While we undertake this work, area teams will not be carrying out their own independent reviews of PMS funding.  The only exceptions will be where there is LMCs  support for a review of PMS funding, or where PCT clusters had gone out to consultation on changes to PMS arrangements and area teams now need to make decisions to reflect the outcome of those consultations.

We recognise that this is a complex area and we want to work with the profession to identify the best way forward for 2014/15.

May I finish by thanking GP practices for the vital work that you have been undertaking to identify 10-16 year olds who have not completed their MMR vaccinations and to proactively contact families to offer catch-up vaccinations.

Dame Barbara Hakin
Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer
NHS England

Other news this month

Unlocking data – guidance for general practices information extraction

We have published technical guidance to help GP practices support the initiative. will be a unique data service which collects and links patient-level data spanning all primary and secondary care providers across England. The service will help clinicians evaluate outcomes from health and care services and support clinical commissioning decisions. The guidance explains what information will be collected from general practice and how patient information will be linked and anonymised to ensure patient confidentiality. (Publications Gateway ref 00126)

Important changes to national immunisation programme

A letter sent to CCGs and GP practices via Area Teams has outlined changes to England’s national immunisation programme. The letter also gives more detail on the rotavirus schedule. Over the last month GP practices have also received letters regarding meningitis C and pertussis vaccination of pregnant women. Within the next month GP practices will receive details of changes to the flu and shingles programmes.

Revised GP guidance on fit notes

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published revised guidance to help GPs and healthcare professionals use the fit note which replaced the old sick note. The revised guidance clarifies that a GP’s advice in the fit note should focus on someone’s general fitness for work and not necessarily be tied to their current or most recent job. This allows patients and employers maximum flexibility to discuss what changes could help someone return to work.

Heatwave plan for England 2013 published

The Heatwave plan for England 2013 has been published as a joint document between NHS England, Public Health England and other partner agencies. The plan’s purpose is to enhance resilience in the event of a heatwave and to describe how to protect and improve health before and during such an event.

Issue of Healthcare Professional Alert Notices

NHS England has written to Area Team Medical Directors setting out interim arrangements for issuing Healthcare Professional Alert Notices. The letter explains that the Secretary of State has directed the National Health Service Litigation Authority to operate the Alert Notice system from 1 April 2013.

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