Bulletin 20.11.2013

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Bulletin 20.11.2013

General Practice IT Services from 2013 
From April, the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) will become accountable for the delivery of primary care IT, with the services PCTs currently provide (i.e. funding and responsibility for hardware, practice networks and support services, including training) being delegated to CCGs.
We urge practices to keep an inventory of the IT systems, software and services currently used and which are being funded and provided by the PCT in order to keep track of this information and lose nothing in the handover.

Although reassurances have been given by the NHSCB that PCTs will accurately identify the IT services they provide to practices, and that there will be a safe transfer of these services, keeping an inventory of the IT provisions currently provided by their PCT will help ensure this happens.

Although decisions on the funding to be devolved to CCGs in 2013-14 are yet to be finalised, the NHSCB has, at the GPC IT Subcommittee’s suggestion, indicated its intention to recommend that current actual spends on general practice IT provision are maintained for at least two years to ensure continuity of service.

Whooping Cough (Pertussis) NES for Pregnant Women Update
Further to the GPC discussion with NHS Employers regarding the additional monitoring requirements for this NE, NHS Employers has stated that it is a local matter as to whether the PCT varies the NES and\or secure additional information from GP practices. As you will be aware, we have raised this with the PCT who have decided to issue the NES with the additional monitoring requirements. It is now practice choice as to whether or not they sign up to the NES. It should be noted that the NES did include some requirements in relation to data capture and sharing by GP practices. This is in relation to the information required by paragraph 9 of the NES but more specifically 9(ii): “Producing and maintaining a satisfactory register of all eligible pregnant women on the contractors registered list during each financial year of the programme. Simple registers of pregnant women are all that is required although these will need to be updated regularly to capture the target population and record EDD so it is known when they are eligible for vaccination.”

Patient On-line Access to GP Records and Transactional Services
The government has committed to provide all NHS patients with secure online access to their personal GP record and transactional services (electronic booking and cancelling of appointments, ordering of repeat prescriptions and communication with the practice) by 2015. The NHS Mandate from the government to the NHS Commissioning Board, published 13 November 2012, reiterates this commitment and goes a step further by saying that e-consultations should become more widely available by 2015, and that people with long-term conditions should be able to benefit from telehealth and telecare by 2017. The RCGP was asked by the government to work in partnership with patient groups and other professional organisations to lead on the development of a plan, policy and procedures to support patient access and engagement with their GP records. GPC representatives have attended meetings of this project. While the GPC is supportive of the principle of patients having easier access to their record, and also support some of the transactional services being proposed as long as they are adequately resourced and straightforward to deliver (such as electronic ordering of repeat prescriptions), there are a number of outstanding concerns with the proposals. These include third party information held in the record, patient understanding of the record, workload implications for practices, security and confidentiality and patient consent to sharing, among other issues.

Care Home Patient Reviews
We have been made aware that some care homes are contacting practices to arrange an agreement to put in place additional/regular patient reviews. Practice should provide patient reviews (not always face to face) as per their contract and according to individual patient needs. Any additional arrangements would require an additional contract with the care home.

Reminder, Registration of GPs as Patients
We strongly recommend GPs – salaried or partner – should not be registered as a patient within the practice where they work. This recommendation extends to other staff working within the practice as managing consent, confidentiality and disagreements can become very complex when the patient/doctor dimension is added within the workplace.

Reminder, Practice Agreements
Due to changes in the NHS and General Practice many practices are dusting off their practice agreements. If you have not done this already we strongly recommend you review your agreement to ensure it is up to date, relevant and signed. This Partnership Agreement Checklist may assist your review and also incorporates previously circulated guidance on wording for minutes to ensure CQC/CCG decision making is correctly documented.

Bulletin 161

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