What’s been happening in general practice
It’s an incredibly busy time for general practice and continues to be. We’ve summarised some of the key activities for easy reference.
Contracting and finances
- The introduction of the Investment and Impact Fund
- The introduction of nursing associate and trainee nursing associate roles to the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme
- Flexibility – by exception – for the clinical lead role for care homes to be a non-GP.
The full summary of changes is set out in the covering letter
The Dispensary Services Quality Scheme (DSQS) was reinstated from 1 August 2020. PCN development funding was made available to integrated care systems (ICSs) and sustainability and transformation partnership (STPs) in August – £43.7 million with supporting guidance.
We sent a letter to practices advising them of changes to the GP contract from 1 October 2020 to implement the agreements reached with the BMA in 2020/21
Growing and supporting our workforce
We shared a letter about the need to expand the primary care workforce, with a reminder for all primary care networks to plan to take full advantage of their guaranteed funding.
Practices should use their allocation as soon as possible and can still recruit in the latter half of the year. CCG and system support is available for workforce planning, developing MDTs, rotational employment systems, and recruitment, including social prescriber link workers through VCSE partners or the South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit.
We also launched a number of schemes to help support and sustain the profession:
- New to Partnership Payment Scheme
- General Practice Fellowship programme and guidance
- Supporting Mentors Scheme
Medical Appraisals have resumed but with a reduction in preparation time and a strong focus on your wellbeing. Further details and guidance can be found on the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges website.
Offered time-limited support to cover recruitment and induction costs for additional Network DES-funding social prescribing link workers until 31 January 2021.
We have continued to promote the #LookingAfterYouToo – coaching support which is available to all primary care staff.
Wider operational updates
- The Standard operating procedure (SOP) for general practice in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19) was updated in August.
The National flu immunisation programme plan for 2020 to 2021 was published and also the Seasonal influenza DES specification.
- The shingles vaccine for individuals who were eligible for the shingles (catch-up) vaccination programme who may have turned 80 years during the pandemic and missed the opportunity to be vaccinated, either due to lockdown or because they were shielding at home and unable to attend their general practice was resumed.
- Details on the clinical prioritisation and validation of elective waiting lists was published.
- We accelerated the deployment of the Electronic Prescription Service(EPS) Phase 4 which allows EPS to be used for patients without a pharmacy nomination. For most practices, the move requires minimal action, but teams should consult the support materials and readiness checklist.
- GP Referral to Community Pharmacist Consultation Service went live across England. The NHS CPCS service specification and toolkit will be refreshed to include GP referrals and will be published in due course.
- South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit has developed a First Contact Practitioners workforce modelling tool. PCNs can use this tool to identify FCP workforce capacity at a system level in order to provide increased capacity to general practice by offering patients with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions direct access to advice, assessment and self-management options across the MSK pathway.