Practice news – Nov-Dec 2020

Archive news for general practice staff, November and December 2020

22 december 2020

Community vaccination sites in Newcastle – go live 23 december 

After a lot of very hard work from an amazing team made up of the CCG, the CDs, our practices and NGPS, our first PCN community vaccination site opens at Newcastle Eagles tomorrow morning at 8am, with the Racecourse due to open on the 30th next week. It would not be an exaggeration to say this has been a Herculean effort from all concerned, and we want to extend our thanks to everyone involved helping to ensure we can vaccinate our most at risk patients. This has come at the end of a very difficult year, and we cannot thank you enough for the work that you’ve all put in.

We have held successful rehearsals at the Eagles for staff and volunteers this week; if you are one of those people working at one of our site who couldn’t make the rehearsal, please read the associated rehearsal document on the Vaccination Staff page on our website at https://newcastle-gp-services.co.uk/vaccination-staff/ (password V@cc1ne). 

Call and recall 

Thank you to every practice who has managed to set up patient appointments for their first vaccinations on 23 and 30 December, and the subsequent vaccine slots. Second vaccinations will take place – again at Eagles and the Racecourse – on 13 and 20 January.

We know a number of you are being contacted directly by patients and being asked about when their vaccination will be. We suggest replying with the following statement, and also placing this on your website, social media channels and telephone hold message.

Long message

Following extensive trials, the first safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in the UK and is now available to priority groups.

Vaccinations are being delivered according to priority groups identified by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The vaccinations may not take place at your GP practice, but rather a local vaccination service (led by GPs, practice nurses and community pharmacists) who are responsible for delivering the vaccine to people in your community. 

When it is the right time for you to receive your vaccination, you will receive an invitation to come forward. This may be via the phone, or through a letter either from your GP or the national booking system.  

We know lots of people will be eager to get protected but we are asking people not to contact us to get an appointment as you will not be able to get one until you are contacted. 

Short/phone message 

“If you are calling about the NHS COVID-19 vaccine, please note that we are not giving the vaccine at our practice. When it is the right time for you to receive your vaccination, you will receive an invitation to come forward. Information on the vaccine is available on the NHS.UK website.”  

We also know that for a number of you it was a sometimes moving but often lengthy task to fill your lists. We know we can ameliorate this with a transport solution and we are exploring this to support further waves. This first cohort is the tip of an iceberg and we recognise that we need to adjust our system as we go.  

Racecourse site walk-through photographs 

We will be putting together a photograph walkthrough of the Racecourse in the next day or so and will be distributing this to practices as soon as it has been done. Thank you for your patience.

Care home vaccinations 

On Saturday evening, we were offered a limited supply of vaccines for care homes for the first time. NHSE have established a way to provide the Pfizer vaccine in trays of 75 and, via our Eagles site, we were offered a delivery. As agreed, the Specialist Care Home Nursing team have worked hard to establish a plan for care home roll out and we met with Catherine Smith (their lead), an allocated CD and the CCG Pharmacist to discuss on Monday. 

Given the first time roll out and the fragility of the vaccine (plus MHRA rules around the number of journeys permitted) we agreed to concentrate on the largest of homes in the city for this supply, taking into account any recent outbreaks (which prohibit access). The team intend on vaccinating at Astell and Byker Hall on 30th and 31st December and NGPS and the CDs are working to support the team especially to share the learning from Eagles and Racecourse.

Supply  

As with all our vaccine work this is a moving picture and we will work hard to communicate changes to you but please don’t hesitate to get in contact with questions. Please note we still do not have clarity regarding any future resupply for our sites or the care home service.

Request for staff for the vaccine sites rota 

Firstly, a massive thank you to everyone who has contacted us and offered to work at the vaccine sites. We have had a fantastic response so far and really appreciate everyone’s support.

We still need people for shifts on 13 and 20 January

If any of your staff – or people you know, such as friends or retired colleagues – would be willing to work (not volunteer) into the vaccine sites outside of contracted work hours, please could you ask them to get in touch.  

We don’t just need vaccinators; we need to recruit to nurses, health care assistants, marshals/front of house, administrators and management.

Anyone who is interested is asked to complete the following Vaccination Programme Staffing form  

Do you have a question on the Covid vaccinations? 

This is an everchanging situation, dependant on many partners and other organisations. If there are updates we will let you know as soon as we hear anything but you can contact us anytime on ngps.admin@nhs.net or ask your CD who is being briefed daily.  You can also find information about our sites on our website at https://newcastle-gp-services.co.uk/vaccination-staff/ (password V@cc1ne) 

15 december 2020

further update on our covid vaccine plans

We know that there has been much for general practice to consider and make decisions on over the past week regarding the Covid vaccine, and we appreciate your patience while we work hard with the PCN Clinical Directors to ensure our vaccine community sites are established for the city. Things have changed again since we last spoke to you at our practice webinar last Thursday, so we have – again – adapted our plans. 

Our priority for this week is setting up two sites (subject to vaccine supply confirmation ) at Newcastle Racecourse and Newcastle Eagles basketball club. This includes:

  • Site logistics and set up (with 3 pods at each site) ensuring we adapt these locations for the population we are serving
  • Equipment purchase, delivery and install 
  • Staff recruitment and rostering 
  • Training for all staff who will be on site 
  • Setting up the call/recall process for practices  

We are currently expecting vaccine delivery for the Eagles site on 21 December, and vaccines to be given all day on Weds 23 December, 8am to 8pm. We then expect our next delivery of vaccines at the Racecourse on Monday 28 December and the vaccines to be given on Weds 30 December, again, 8am to 8pm. 

The priority for practices this week is twofold: 

1 – ensuring that appointment lists for each site for both the first vaccination, and the second vaccination 21 days later, are completed so we can use our full vaccine supply. We know that this is no small task and appreciate the efforts that everyone in general practice is putting in, on top of already incredibly stretched workloads. We have sent you packs to prepare you. We know you are now awaiting our initiation e mail. We expect you to be populating your list for the first site(s) Wed- Fri this week but please await our email.

2 – signing the collaboration agreement, as distributed to each of you last Friday. If you have any questions on this, please speak directly with your PCN CD. 

As things are changing rapidly and often daily, we will keep updating our password protected page at https://newcastle-gp-services.co.uk/newcastle-primary-care-services-covid-19-update/ with the most up to date information. For any questions, please get in touch with anyone in the NGPS team.

We are also planning more webinars so we can further update you, and to enable you to ask us any questions you may have. Our next webinar is scheduled for this Thursday, 17 December, at 6.30pm. 

30 november 2020

Update regarding a citywide vaccine approach in Newcastle 

Last week we updated you on the evolving situation regarding the Primary Care Network Enhanced Service to support delivery of a Covid vaccination programme in Newcastle. We are still waiting to receive the ES but wanted to reassure you that we are working hard to ensure that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision on the proposed approach for the city. 

As you know, the ES will offer practices the opportunity to sign a contract to support the primary care delivery of this vaccine. Whilst we still do not know all the details, our modelling – from the information we have – suggests that there is no financial or logistical way to deliver the criteria at existing practice estate with only practice staff. We have been working in partnership with PCN clinical directors, the CCG and the regional vaccination team to pull together a model of delivery that enables us to collaborate with the wider system mass vaccination programme and avoid duplication, to protect our primary care workforce and practice finances, and to be able to flex the model given the high degree of unknowns without affecting day to day practice work.  

Once the ES has been released, we will quickly carry out a comparison with the original information provided to see if our plans still hold.  We will then put together a briefing for all practices (which we hope to get out within hours, not days of the specification release) which will capture the essential elements of how we believe we can best deliver this and support you in making your decision. We will also be asking practices at that stage if, subject to their decision to opt in, which roles (if any) they can contribute to the citywide vaccination effort; this is not something we can deliver in isolation and will need the expertise and support of many across primary care.

If you have any questions, please speak to your network clinical director or get in touch with NGPS. 

UTC review and improvements – go live from Monday 7 December 

As we have spoken about previously, and following feedback from practices across Newcastle, working alongside the Alliance we have been considering ways to improve the extended hours provision in UTCs in the city. We met with Trust colleagues last week to conduct a root and branch review of the service, with four aims; simplify the booking process, improve the availability of slots to practices, improve the usage of slots and improve reporting accuracy.

In order to achieve these aims a number of changes are being put in place from Monday 7 December:

  • Removal of ED slots from the extended access ledgers, turning these appointments into GP slots for practices to book into, an increase of 5 slots a day.
  • Early release of 8-10am GP slots the previous day at 4pm for practices to book into (2 of these slots will still be reserved for the evening triage GP to book patients into).
  • Same day embargoed appointments to be released earlier – 10-4pm appointments to be released at 8am and 4-8pm appointments to be released at 2pm.
  • Simplification of ledgers – Ponteland Rd and Westgate Rd will only have face to face appointments available. There will be no loss of telephone triage slots as 4 x NHS111 slots are being repurposed for GP telephone triage.
  • Removal of ledgers not relevant to practices, including: ENT, plastics and ultrasound.
  • Widening of clinical parameters for face to face GP slots, to include mild to moderate mental health and under 12yrs. All face to face appointments require a clinical triage before being booked in.
  • Training for practices on using and navigating the ledgers will be delivered by the Trust and NGPS via Microsoft Teams. This will primarily be aimed at lead receptionists but open to anyone within the practice that would benefit.
  • More transparent reporting and availability of data provided to practices monthly, including guideline allocation of appointments per practice based on list size.

For further information on the service availability and the referral criteria for both hot and cold services see our Resources for Practices page. For cold services, there has been a widening of clinical parameters for face to face GP slots, to include mild to moderate mental health and under 12yrs outside of core hours. Importantly, all face to face appointments require a clinical triage before being booked in.

Thank you to all of our practices for your input into this process. If you have any further feedback, please do get in touch with anyone at NGPS.

45p a head match-funding dividend from NGPS – update 

Following our email last week, we’re pleased to let all of our member practices know that we are in the process of making our match-funded winter payment dividend of £0.45 per head to each practice. If there are any practices who would like to spend their winter payment and this dividend on any network-driven projects, please let us or your network clinical director know. 

If you have any questions about this payment, please get in touch with Alex Woodmass in the NGPS team. 

24 november 2020

Covid-19 vaccine contract for practices – an update on our proposed approach

Over the past seven days since the details of the Covid-19 Vaccine extended service (ES) contract were released we have been collaborating closely with the LMC and the PCN Clinical Directors, as Team Primary Care, to devise a suggested approach for the delivery of the contract.

We have carried out a detailed costs, workforce and estates analysis with the aim to provide practices with the information you need so you can make an informed decision regarding signing the ES draft contract.

Our priority has been to understand the complexities of the required service outlined by NHS England, the impact on primary care and how we, as Team Primary Care, can support those in general practice. We aim to propose an approach that meets the demands of the vaccine contract, while still recognising the need to continue with existing workload, but also protecting both an already exhausted and depleted practice workforce and practice finances.

We know that none of this is easy on you and we are doing everything we can to reduce any stress or strain following what is yet another significant ask of primary care.

Vaccine site recce activity

As part of this project the NGPS Operations Manager, Will Thompson, has been carrying out recce’s on further potential vaccine sites on behalf of the primary care networks. An additional long-list of possible venues – in addition to the number already assessed – are currently being reviewed, based on the criteria outlined by NHS England and with input from network CDs. The results of this will be shared as soon as possible with CDs and the CCG to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all networks across the city. Given the urgent timescales for decision making this is expected in the next few days.

Extended access and urgent access to primary care in Newcastle

Extended access and urgent access to primary care continues across Newcastle, and we want to thank everyone who have made it possible to continue to provide hot and cold services, overseen by our Operations Manager, Will Thompson.

As you may be aware, Westgate Road UTC has recently re-opened and is available for cold face-to-face appointments. The referral criteria are the same as for F2F appointments at Ponteland Rd. Covid hot services continue to be provided from Molineux and Elswick Family Practice.

Last week each practice was emailed a breakdown of the services currently provided and their times of operation, and a one-page guide for each of the services, outlining referral criteria and scope of each service. Laminated copies will be sent to all practices this week.

We are aware that there are ongoing and completely valid concerns from practices around available provision, particularly in the East of the city, and have spoken to a number of practices directly who have raised concerns. Be assured that we are not taking your concerns lightly, and we are committed to ensuring equity of service provision in all areas of Newcastle.

Our Chair and clinical lead, Dr Antony Moore, is working closely with other partners in the city to find a resolution for this and we hope to have positive news later this week. Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss this with one of our team

Additionally, we are currently gathering data on practice use and trends across the full UTC and extended hours contract – understanding that some practices use these services to a significant extent, whereas others do not use them at all – and are putting together a report of our findings. We will report back this information to you as soon as we can, as well as offering a way ahead to ensure that there is equitable access and provision.

Regent Point telephone triage – moved to NGPS offices temporarily

As part of the UTC services we are providing additional GP resources to support telephone triage. Owing to an electrical fault last week at Regent Point – where this service has been based – we have now moved the triage GPs to the NGPS central office, also in Gosforth. This will have no impact on the service provided, and we will continue to host the triage GPs until the fault at Regent Point is resolved.

Inaugural meeting of PCN project managers

As part of our ongoing support for all networks in the city we hosted the first meeting of the PCN project managers last week. The objective of these meetings is to share specialist knowledge, particularly around finance, digital and ARR staff. Following this meeting we have produced a generic induction document for ARR staff that will be circulated later this week. On an ongoing basis, once we have nominated reps from each network, these meetings will be held monthly.

For more information, please contact Jo Chakal in the NGPS team.

17 november 2020

Volunteer recruitment for vaccine studies by Newcastle Hospitals: GP practice request

Newcastle Hospitals are recruiting to Covid19 vaccine studies over the next 6 months. Newcastle GP Services are working with the Trust on this project and are asking GP practices to participate.  

Newcastle Hospitals are recruiting to Covid19 vaccine studies over the next 6 months.

Recruitment needs to be rapid when studies open so it is important to create registers of volunteers in advance. The National NIHR vaccine registry has been modestly successful but many individuals prefer local NHS contact. We propose using the Research+Me* registry which is managed by Newcastle Hospitals, working closely with GP practices across the city.

We are asking practices to consider text-outs to adult patients offering a link for registration to the Research+Me registry to help with volunteer recruitment. Payment will be made to practices who support this project; a one-off payment for sending out texts, and payment for every patient recruited to every trial (not just vaccine trials).

If you would like to be involved please contact Emily Fisher at NGPS on emily.fisher8@nhs.net for more information or see the research page.

You will be able to hear more about the project directly from the Clinical Director for Research, Prof Yan Yiannakou, at a plenary session at the next Newcastle TITO on 26 November. 

Asylum seeker healthcare project 

NGPS are continuing to work closely with Mears, as part of their Home Office contract, to support asylum seekers who are housed in the North East. 

Our healthcare team have so far assessed nearly 200 asylum seekers, given them detailed health examinations and have registered them at GP practices in the city so they are able to access further treatment if needed.  

Our social prescribing team are also visiting regularly and helping those who have other needs. This has included helping them with internet and phone access to contact family members or make GP appointments and signposting to further support such as mental health care. 

This project is under review and may continue depending on need. 

Health and wellbeing support 

Our new Health and Wellbeing Coach for North Gosforth Primary Care Network, Frazer Solomon, has made a positive impact since his appointment a couple of months ago.  

Frazer has been working with referred patients across Gosforth working on a 1-2-1 basis and also running online health and wellbeing sessions. Feedback has been hugely positive with patients reporting improvement in general mobility, flexibility, strength and stability.  

If you are a practice in NG PCN and would like more information, please contact Frazer on frazer.solomon@nhs.net  

12 november 2020

VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT FOR VACCINE STUDIES BY NEWCASTLE HOSPITALS: GP PRACTICE REQUEST

Newcastle Hospitals are recruiting to Covid19 vaccine studies over the next 6 months. Newcastle GP Services are working with the Trust on this project and are asking GP practices to participate. Read more on our research page.

Newcastle Hospitals are recruiting to Covid19 vaccine studies over the next 6 months. Recruitment needs to be rapid when studies open so it is important to create registers of volunteers in advance. The National NIHR vaccine registry has been modestly successful but many individuals prefer local NHS contact. We propose using the Research+Me* registry which is managed by Newcastle Hospitals, working closely with GP practices across the city.

We are asking practices to consider text-outs to adult patients offering a link for registration to the Research+Me registry to help with volunteer recruitment. Payment will be made to practices who support this project; a one-off payment for sending out texts, and payment for every patient recruited to every trial (not just vaccine trials).

If you would like to be involved please contact Emily Fisher at NGPS on emily.fisher8@nhs.net for more information or see the research page.

You will be able to hear more about the project directly from the Clinical Director for Research, Prof Yan Yiannakou, at a plenary session at the next Newcastle TITO on 26 November.