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As people return from a much-needed summer break, the flow of comms, information and events is starting to increase again. We will continue to try and provide a pithy summary of the pertinent information for practices as we enter what is widely predicted to be a busy winter.


Flu. As we all know, this year’s campaign is very fluid and information will continue to flow as it becomes available. I am always keen to focus on facts and what we do know, rather than speculation on what might happen. The DES Specification has now been published and this is the contractual regulation for practices as opposed to guidance. I would therefore strongly recommend having a read through. For example Para 8 and Annex B provide a clear indication of eligibility and includes: In order to protect patients in a vulnerable care setting the following groups should be vaccinated by the GP practice where they are registered as a patient:

  • Health and social care staff employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider and;
  • Health care staff employed by a voluntary managed hospice provider and;
  • Health and social care workers employed through Direct Payments and/or Personal Health Budgets (such as personal assistants) to delivery domiciliary care to patients and service users.

Child Flu Vaccine and Porcine Gelatine. On page 15 of the Annual Flu Letter from early August there is an update for parents who object to the LAIV porcine gelatine content: 7. As in previous years LAIV will be the vaccine offered to the routine age cohorts for the childhood flu vaccination programme as this is the most effective vaccine for this programme. However for 2020/21, consideration is being made to offer an injectable vaccine to those children whose parents object to the porcine gelatine in LAIV, to provide additional resilience against flu in what could be a challenging year. If the parent of a child eligible for the routine childhood immunisation programme refuses LAIV (and they understand that it is the most effective product) and they request an alternative vaccine, this will be offered to them where possible. Providers of childrens vaccination services will receive further instruction on the offering of this service, including vaccine supply arrangements, in due course.

COVID-19 Testing. As you are all aware there has been an upsurge in people applying for COVID-19 tests, which has resulted in difficulties for practice staff accessing tests. In addition to the Gov.uk route for individuals to apply for tests, practices are advised to register as an employer of essential workers, to bump you up the priority order. The details are here and reproduced below:

Employer referral for essential workers

Employers can refer essential workers for testing if they are self-isolating because either they or member(s) of their household have coronavirus symptoms.

They can do this by uploading the names and contact details of self-isolating essential workers to the secure employer referral portal.

Referred essential workers will then receive a text message with a unique invitation code to book a test for themselves (if symptomatic) or their symptomatic household member(s) at a regional testing site.

To get a login to the employer referral portal, employers of essential workers should email portalservicedesk@dhsc.gov.uk with the following information:

  • organisation name
  • nature of the organisation’s business
  • region
  • names (where possible) and email addresses of the 2 users who will load essential worker contact details

We have raised our concerns with the CCG as we consider this could become a significant limiting factor for practices.

QOF. I had intended to produce a summary of the updated QOF documents that have been shared this week, but I have run out of time. So in the interest of brevity and with due acknowledgement to Doncaster LMC please see here, the best summary I have seen so far.

Dispensing update DSQS. For dispensing practices, the DRUM requirement has been reduced to a minimum of 7.5% of dispensing patients for this year (from 10%). Practices are asked to prioritise those patients who they consider to be higher risk or who would benefit from a review. These reviews may be undertaken remotely.

GP Appraisal. A much-slimmed down appraisal process is due to be reinstated from 1st October 2020 and full activity levels to resume from 1st April 2021. The full details from the NHS Medical Director Prof Steven Powis.


Premises Data Gathering Exercise. Derbyshire has been selected to be in wave 2 of this pilot programme and the CCG have asked us to share the details of the NHS Primary Care Data Gathering Programme (Attachment A). This is essentially an audit of information on primary care estates held by the CCG, NHSE and nationally, followed by a piece of work to fill any gaps. It will support both the implementation of the primary care estates strategy and the plans PCNs need to produce to request reimbursement for accommodation for their additional clinical workforce. The CCG have assured us that they will do their absolute best to ensure that practices are only contacted for information that isn’t held either at the CCG or NHSE locally or regionally.

NHS Low-calorie diet programme in Derbyshire. Following the Bank Holiday announcement about the provision of low calorie foods “on prescription for diabetics” the CCG have provided an update. “We are delighted that Derbyshire has been chosen by NHS England as a pilot site for the low calorie diet (LCD) to help people with diabetes reverse the condition. Unfortunately, we had no idea that they were going to do a big press release on bank holiday Tuesday until after it had happened. We can only apologise for the frustration for practice staff having to deal with patients wanting something which you have not been given any information about. We hope that the attached information sheet should answer all your questions. Please note that that LCD Total Dietary Replacement (TDR) products are not to be prescribed, and access to them is through the LCD programme.

If you have any remaining questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch for further information. Kriss Owen Clinical lead for diabetes and Louise Clarke Commissioning Manager.”

Schools. As schools return we have been made aware of an increase in pupils being told to attend their GPs with cold and sore throats, and to access COVID-19 tests. We will be writing to both local authorities and Academy Heads.


Dr You! HEE have shared the launch of the Dr You initiative ( here ) to encourage people to consider a career in medicine. Please feel free to share with all your contacts. Any queries to sarah.bentley@hee.nhs.uk tel: 0782 690 8487. If you would like to advertise an event or work experience opportunities, please contact Claire Flavell ( claire.flavell2@ulh.nhs.uk ) who will be able to assist.


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