The latest national updates for General Practice can be found at https://www.england.nhs.uk/gp/latest-updates/
- GP Comms toolkit: NHS England, in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service, have produced this handy toolkit to help explain to patients how their surgeries are providing services during Covid-19.
- RCGP and BMA Guidance on Workload Prioritisation during COVID pandemic level rising (New: 5th November 2020)
- NHS England and NHS Improvement standard operating procedures for general practice and community pharmacy have been updated (August 2020)
- An archive of Primary care NHSE bulletins can be accessed by following this link
Letter to GP Practices with updated guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable individuals and actions for GPs (New: 2nd November 2020) in particular note the requirement to immediately review any children and young people remaining on the SPL, and urgently identify, contact and flag adults with Down’s syndrome
GP practice staff absent from work due to COVID-19, suspected COVID-19 or shielding
NHS England encourages practices to pay full pay to any GP practice staff who are absent from work with COVID-19, suspected COVID-19 (self-isolating) or who are clinically extremely vulnerable and are therefore unable to come into the workplace and see patients face to face (shielding).
Where it is appropriate, for example if shielding, self-isolating or well enough to do so, GP Practice staff should be encouraged and supported to work remotely where possible, in light of the home working solutions that NHS England & NHS Improvement has facilitated. Where GP practice staff are absent due to COVID-19, suspected COVID-19 (self-isolating) or shielding and are unable to work from home, practices are strongly encouraged to continue to pay staff full pay.
NHS England & NHS Improvement has announced £150m of additional funding to practices via the General Practice Covid Capacity Expansion Fund, available until March 2021, to support additional capacity in general practice and to deliver seven priority areas, as set out in the letter published on 9 November 2020.One of these areas is provision of funding for backfill for staff absences, where it is agreed by the CCG, required to meet demand, and the individual is not able to work remotely.
DWP Work Capability Assessments
The Department for Work and Pensions has issued a plea for GP practices to return requests for further evidence for Capability for Work Assessments as quickly as they can. People who have made these applications are often suffering financial hardship, hence their concern. The following is the DWP statement: ‘DWP are currently prioritising Work Capability Assessments for new claims to Universal Credit/Employment and Support Allowance and continuing to process all Personal Independence Payment claims. Ensuring individuals can access financial support in a timely manner is essential and we would therefore ask GPs to treat requests for further evidence as a priority.’
Contact with Patients vis SMS
The SMS Engagement Hub is a centralised hub for SEL CCG to send bulk SMS messages to patient populations; a possible requirement during the pandemic. An FAQ about this is available.