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Found 45 results
  1. News Article
    GP surgeries are waiting up to a month for supplies of this winter’s flu vaccine amid unprecedented numbers of patients seeking jabs ahead of the second wave of COVID-19, family doctors have said. The Royal College of GPs (RCPG) has written to the health secretary, Matt Hancock, seeking assurances that they will have enough doses of the vaccine to cope with demand. The struggle to get jabs has prompted fears that vulnerable groups, including elderly people and those with underlying conditions, will go unprotected. “We have heard anecdotally that some surgeries are waiting up to a month for replenished supplies of vaccine, which raises concerns that there are significant distribution problems,” Prof Martin Marshall, the RCGP’s chair and a family doctor in London, said in the letter. One GP in Nottingham said there had been “a huge uptake compared to previous years, well over what we anticipated” at their surgery among groups eligible for the free jab, “so supplies ran out quickly”. “The next delivery is several weeks away and there are patients in at-risk groups who are having to wait. We have a patient aged 70 with heart disease who wants the vaccine but we currently have none to give her until the next delivery in mid to late October,” the GP said. Shortages mean that people aged 50 to 64, who are being offered a jab for the first time on the NHS, may have to wait until those with a greater medical need have been immunised first. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 4 October 2020
  2. Community Post
    We should all strive to keep antibiotics working for our NHS surgeons and future generations, by decreasing antibiotic use in medicine. It is mums themselves who could dramatically decrease antibiotic use, in the only medical specialty where this is possible - in obstetrics - by keeping skin intact; by being informed of the 10cm diameter that 'Aniball' and 'Epi-no Delphine Plus' birth facilitating devices, the mechanical version of Antenatal Perineal Massage, achieve by skin expansion (much like by 'earlobe skin expanders') prior to birth, for back of baby's head. This enables a normal birth for many more babies by shortening birth, with no cutting (episiotomies) or tearing, and much fewer Caesarean sections, as each Caesarean section requires antibiotics to be injected into mum, to kill any bacteria, which might have invaded a skin cell, from being implanted with that skin cell, deep into the wall of the uterus, by the surgeon's knife. There are around 750,000 births in the UK alone and three-quarters of mums are damaged during birth and at risk of developing infection; so a dramatic decrease in antibiotic use is possible. Empowering mums with knowledge; that both the skin and the coats of the pelvic floor muscles, which form the floor of the lower tummy, can be stretched painlessly, in preparation of birth, from the 26th week of pregnancy, so a gentler, kinder birth for both baby and mum becomes possible by decreasing risky obstetric interventions. Muscle can be stretched to 3 times its original length, if stretched painlessly over 6 or more occasions, and still retains its ability to recoil back, contracting to its original length. So there is no damage to mum. Baby's delicate head is not used to achieve this 'birth canal widening', because Antenatal Perineal Massage or Aniball or Epi-no Delphine Plus have already achieved this prior to the start of birth. In birth this stretching is rushed within the last 2 hours of birth, with risk of avulsion of pelvic floor muscle fibres from the pubic bone and risk of skin tearing or the need for episiotomy. The overlying skin will likewise stretch without tearing if done over 6 or more occasions. The maximal opening in the outlet or lower part of the pelvis is 10cm diameter, so 10cm diameter is the goal of the birth aiding devices and 'Antenatal Perineal Massage' or 'Birth Canal Widening' - opening doors for baby maximally. The mother reviews on 'Aniball' and 'Epi-no Delphine Plus' are impressive: Wanda Klaman, a first time mum, gives birth at nearly 42 weeks to a 4.4kg baby, with no need for episiotomy or forceps; Sophie of London, avoids episiotomy, when forceps are used to aid delivery for her baby who lays across her tummy - transverse lay, because the skin at this opening is so stretchy thanks to the birth facilitating devices. Cochrane Collaborate Report on Antenatal Massage https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23633325/ https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7450045/Fears-infections-pandemic-grow-NINETEEN-new-superbugs-discovered-UK.html https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mistakes-maternity-wards-setting-nhs-22702909
  3. News Article
    General practices will struggle to cope with a second wave of COVID-19 unless urgent measures are put in place to support them, the BMA has warned. It said that practices in England were reporting that they did not have the capacity to carry out all of the work required of them while managing ongoing patient care, dealing with the backlog of care put on hold during the first wave of the pandemic, and reconfiguring services. Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee England, said, “GPs, like all doctors, are extremely concerned that without decisive action now services will be overwhelmed if we see another spike in the coming weeks and months.” In the report, the committee called for a package of measures to support the GP workforce, including making occupational health services available to all staff to ensure that they are properly risk assessed and to provide free supplies of personal protective equipment. It also called for the suspension of routine inspections by the Care Quality Commission and of the Quality and Outcomes Framework, as part of efforts to reduce bureaucracy. NHS England’s covid support fund for practices should be rolled over until March 2021 and expanded to ensure that all additional costs such as additional telephony and cleaning are included, it added. Vautrey said, “The measures we’ve outlined are aimed at supporting practices and their staff to deliver high quality care while managing the increased pressures of doing so during a pandemic, and it is vital that the government and NHS England listen and implement these urgently, to ensure that primary care can continue to operate safely through what looks to be an incredibly difficult winter.” Read full story Source: BMJ, 1 October 2020
  4. News Article
    NHS England has been asked for a “clear plan and timescale” for development during covid of its controversial scheme which aims to provide extra support for care homes. In its adult social care winter plan the government has advised NHS England to push forward with the rollout of the “enhanced health in care homes” programme, ensuring that all care homes are assigned to primary care networks by 1 October. The scheme requires GP practices to provide extra clinical support and advice to homes. PCNs should also nominate a clinical lead for the care homes and work with other providers, such as social prescribing link workers, health and wellbeing coaches and care co-ordinators, to provide personalised care. The winter plan responds to a number of recommendations published by the COVID-19 support taskforce, after reviewing the management of the virus in the sector. It asks NHSE to provide a clear plan and timetable for its “enhanced health in care homes” programme. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 23 September 2020
  5. News Article
    A survey of members of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has found that almost two thirds (60%) of doctors worry that patients in their care have suffered harm or complications following diagnosis or treatment delays during the pandemic, while almost all doctors (94%) are concerned about the general indirect impact of COVID-19 on their patients. This is also compounded by the difficulty doctors are finding in accessing diagnostic testing for their patients. Only 29% of doctors report experiencing no delays in accessing endoscopy testing (one of the main diagnostic tests used by doctors) for inpatients, decreasing to just 8% for outpatients. Only 5% of doctors feel that their organisations are fully prepared for a potential second wave of COVID-19 infection, and almost two thirds (64%) say they haven’t been involved in any discussions about preparations for a second wave of the virus. While the government’s promise to roll out flu vaccines to millions more people is welcome, the RCP recently set several more priorities to help prepare the health service for future waves of COVID-19, including the need to ensure the NHS estate is fully able to cope. Only 5% say they wanted an antibody test for COVID-19 but were unable to access one. Of those tested, a quarter (25%) were positive, with little or no difference when it came to gender, between white and BAME doctors, trainees and consultants or between London and the rest of England. Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “Delays to treatment are so often a major issue for the NHS but as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s fair to say we’ve reached crisis point. Doctors are, understandably, gravely concerned that their patients’ health will have deteriorated to the point where they will need much more extensive treatment than previously, at a time when NHS resources are already incredibly depleted." “We also cannot underestimate the need to prepare for a second wave of COVID-19 infection, which threatens to compound the situation. Without careful and rigorous preparation, a second wave coupled with the winter flu season, could overwhelm the NHS.” Source: Royal College of Physicians, 5 August 2020
  6. News Article
    The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) has stressed the importance of GPs having rapid access to testing results for patients, as newly-released research highlights the role general practice is playing during the coronavirus pandemic. Released by Queen Mary University of London, and published in the British Journal of General Practice, the research showed GPs and their teams were continuing to deliver frontline care to NHS patients with both Covid and non-Covid conditions. The active role of GPs in the COVID-19 response is nothing new or surprising, though notably the Queen Mary research focused in heavily on ‘suspected’ cases of Covid, due to limited community testing throughout the pandemic, giving a clearer picture of the primary patient group using general practice services. Responding to the research, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the RCGP, said: “This data shows the significant role GPs and our teams have played in tackling Covid-19 and delivering care to patients during the pandemic – and how the virus has impacted on all parts of the health and care services. “General practice has been open throughout the pandemic with GPs and our teams continuing to deliver the vast majority of NHS patient care to patients with both Covid and non-Covid conditions." Read full story Source: National Health Executive, 8 September 2020
  7. News Article
    GP leaders have written to NHS England to demand that an NHS hospital trust urgently restores routine referrals as it has 'closed its doors' to some patients, ‘destabilising’ practices in the process. Oxfordshire LMC said local GPs are ‘concerned and angry’ about the ‘ongoing closure’ to routine referrals across multiple ‘high-demand’ specialties by Oxford University Hospital Foundation Trust, while warning GPs are also being asked to carry out tests that should be done in hospital. A ‘significant’ number of specialties are affected, including ENT, general gynaecology, dermatology, ophthalmology, endoscopy and urology, as well as plastics and maxillofacial, it added. The hospital trust said it had remained open for urgent and emergency care and was accepting clinically urgent and suspected cancer referrals, while reinstating services to support 'the vast majority' of routine referrals. But Oxfordshire LMC has this week written to NHS England and the council of governors at OUHFT to demand that there are ‘no further delays’ in restoring the services amid concerns of ‘patient harm’. It said: ‘The LMC believes the continuing closure of some specialty services to routine referrals is now so serious for patients that it has taken a decision to formally raise the concerns of Oxfordshire’s GPs with NHS England.’ Read full story Source: Pulse, 13 August 2020
  8. News Article
    Dr Rebecca Fisher gives the lowdown on why maintaining general practice as a ‘front door’ to the NHS that is safe for both GPs and patients is not easy. It’s fair to say that Matt Hancock’s pronouncement that henceforth all consultations should be “teleconsultations unless there’s a compelling reason not to”, has not been universally welcomed in general practice. In my surgery, practicing in a pandemic has seen us change our ways of working beyond imagination. In March, like many other practices, we shifted overnight to a “telephone first” approach. And whilst at peak-pandemic we kept face-to-face consultations to a minimum, we’re now seeing more and more patients in person again. Although many consultations can be safely done over the phone, we’re very clear that there are some patients – and some conditions and circumstances – where a patient needs a face-to-face appointment with a GP. NHS England have also been clear that all practices must offer face-to-face consultations if clinically appropriate. But maintaining general practice as a “front door” to the NHS that is safe for both GPs and patients is not easy. Options to quarantine and pre-test patients set out in national guidance and intended to help protect secondary care cannot be deployed in primary care. Other national guidance – for example regarding wearing masks in clinical sites – often seems to be issued with secondary care in mind, with little or delayed clarity for primary care. Measures like maintaining social distancing are also likely to be harder in general practice, where the ability of a surgery to physically distance staff from each other, and patients from each other and staff, is in part dependent on physical factors. Options to quarantine and pre-test patients set out in national guidance and intended to help protect secondary care cannot be deployed in primary care Things like the size and layout of a practice, or the availability of a car park for patients to wait in are hard to change quickly. Stemming from those challenges are ones related to staffing; how to keep practice staff safe from covid-19? NHS England and the British Medical Association have stated that staff should have rigorous, culturally sensitive risk assessment and consider ceasing direct patient contact where risks from covid-19 are high. The risk of catching COVID-19 – or dying from it – is not equally distributed amongst GPs. Age, sex, ethnicity, and underlying health conditions are all important risk factors. New Health Foundation research finds that not only are a significant proportion of GPs at high or very high risk of death from covid-19 (7.9 per cent), but one in three single-handed practices is likely to be run by a GP at high risk. If those GPs step back from face-to-face consultations we estimate that at least 700,000 patients could be left without access to in-person appointments. Even more concerningly, there’s a marked deprivation gradient. If GPs at high risk from COVID-19 step back from direct face-to-face appointments, and gaps in provision aren’t plugged, the patients likely to be most affected are those in deprived areas – the same people who have already been hardest hit by the pandemic GPs at high risk of death from covid are much more likely to be working in areas of greater socioeconomic deprivation. And single-handed practices run by GPs classed as being at very high risk from covid are more than four times as likely to be located in the most deprived clinical commissioning groups than the most affluent. If GPs at high risk from COVID-19 step back from direct face-to-face appointments, and gaps in provision aren’t plugged, the patients likely to be most affected are those in deprived areas – the same people who have already been hardest hit by the pandemic. Where do solutions lie? Ultimate responsibility for providing core general practice services to populations lies with CCGs. In some areas, collaborations between practices (such as GP federations and primary care networks), may be able to organise cross-cover to surgeries where face-to-face provision is not adequate to meet need. But these collaborations have not developed at equal pace across the country, have many demands on their capacity and may not be sufficiently mature to take on this challenge. These local factors – including the availability of locums – will need to be considered by commissioners. It’s vital that CCGs act quickly to understand the extent to which the concerns around GP supply highlighted by our research apply in their localities. In some cases, additional funding will be needed to enable practices to ‘buy in’ locum support for face-to-face consultations. This should be considered a core part of the NHS covid response. Face-to-face GP appointments remain a crucial NHS service, and must be available to the population in proportion with need. Just as in secondary care, protecting staff, and protecting patients in primary care will require additional investment. Failure to adequately assess the extent of the problem, and to provide sufficient resource to engineer solutions is likely to further exacerbate existing health inequalities. Original Source: The HSJ
  9. News Article
    Hundreds of thousands of NHS patients could lose the ability to see their GP face to face because their doctors may have to protect themselves from coronavirus. An analysis by the Health Foundation charity has found around a third of GPs who run their practice on their own are at high risk from the virus themselves. If they are forced to abandon face-to-face consultations the charity warned it could deny 710,000 patients access to their doctor. Dr Rebecca Fisher, senior policy fellow at the Health Foundation and a GP said: “The ongoing risk of Covid-19 to the safety of both patients and GPs means hundreds of thousands of people may find it much harder to get a face-to-face GP appointment. “It’s particularly worrying that GPs at higher risk from Covid-19 are far more likely to be working in areas of high deprivation. Those are precisely the areas with the greatest health need, the biggest burden from Covid-19, and an existing under-supply of GPs relative to need. Unless urgent action is taken this could become another way in which poorer communities become further disadvantaged, and risks further widening health inequalities.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 6 August 2020
  10. News Article
    More than one in five GP partners said they removed practice staff away from face-to-face care due to ethnicity during the pandemic, a Pulse survey has revealed. The survey in June revealed that 84 of the 378 respondents said that ‘ethnicity was a crucial factor in removing anyone in your practice away from face-to-face assessments’. Around 70% of respondents said they had been counting ethnicity as a factor when risk assessing staff. See full article here
  11. Content Article
    RCGP says the plans should contain: costed proposals for additional funding for general practice solutions for how the current GP workforce capacity can manage new and pre-existing pressures commitments to continue the reduction in regulatory burdens and ‘red tape’, which has enabled GPs to spend more time on frontline patient care during the pandemic a systematic approach for identifying those patients who are likely to require primary care support; and proposals for how health inequalities will be minimised to ensure all patients have access to the necessary post-COVID-19 care.
  12. News Article
    Urgent cancer referrals were "inappropriately" rejected by hospitals during the coronavirus lockdown without tests being carried out, GPs have said. Cancer Research UK said the findings from a survey of more than 1,000 GPs were "alarming", warning that patients whose lives may be at risk were being left "in limbo". Family doctors were surveyed in June and asked what had happened to patients they had referred to hospitals for tests in the month to that point because cancer was suspected. A quarter of GPs said urgent referrals had been inappropriately turned down by hospitals more often than had been the case before the pandemic. Four in 10 said that, when tests were refused, patients had been left without proper checks to see whether their case could safely be left without investigation. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Telegraph, 8 July 2020
  13. News Article
    A High Court judge has ruled that an NHS trust was negligent in failing to consider early enough that a toddler with fever, lethargy, and vomiting might have had a serious bacterial infection and to give her intramuscular antibiotics. Mr Justice Johnson said that doctors from University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust should have ordered a lumbar puncture on the 15 month old girl on the day she was first seen or the next day. The girl, referred to in court as SC, was sent by her GP to the hospital by ambulance on 26 January 2006 with a note describing his findings on examination and ending “?meningitis.” The GP, Mark Dennison, had given her intramuscular penicillin. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 22 June 2020
  14. News Article
    A new risk tool could be used to identify those most at threat from COVID-19, so GPs can give patients tailored advice, health officials have said. Scientists at Oxford University are working on a clinical risk prediction model, which aims to give individuals more precise information about the likely impact of the disease on them, instead of a blanket approach. Health officials said the plans aimed to allow “very individualised discussions” between patients and their doctors, in the event of future outbreaks, particularly as winter approaches. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Telegraph, 23 June 2020
  15. News Article
    A poll of members by the Medical Protection Society (MPS) found that 43% of doctors fear investigation if patients come to harm because of delays to referrals and reduced NHS services during the pandemic. Treatment has been delayed for millions of patients while the NHS has focused on managing the pandemic - with GPs in many areas still unable to refer as normal and even urgent referrals delayed while the UK has been in lockdown. The NHS Confederation has warned that 10 million people could be on NHS waiting lists by Christmas. Reduced NHS services during the pandemic have left even patients who need urgent treatment or scans for cancer waiting longer. GPonline reported in April that patients had been waiting more than a month for urgent cancer checks - and Cancer Research UK warned in May that 2.4 million patients were waiting longer for scans or treatment because of disruption to services during the pandemic. Read full story Source: GPonline, 11 June 2020
  16. News Article
    More than three quarters of GPs fear delays to care because of COVID-19 will harm patients, with one in three reporting that urgent referrals have been rejected during the pandemic, a GPonline poll shows. The poll of 415 GPs found that 77% were concerned that delays to operations and treatments for non-COVID-19 issues would result in patients coming to harm. Meanwhile, 30% of GPs said they have had an urgent referral rejected during the pandemic. Rejected referrals included two-week-wait referrals for suspected cancer as well as urgent referrals for investigations such as ECGs, echocardiograms and CT scans. GPs also highlighted concerns over delays to treatment for cancer, with respondents warning that breast cancer surgeries had been postponed or chemotherapy delayed. Read full story Source: GP Online, 5 May 2020
  17. News Article
    Four in ten people are not seeking help from their GP because they are afraid to be a burden on the NHS during the pandemic, polling by NHS England reveals. The findings – from a survey of 1,000 people – are the latest in a wave of evidence that fewer people are seeking care for illnesses other than those related to coronavirus during the pandemic. GP online reported on 20 April that data collected by the RCGP showed a 25% reduction in routine clinical activity in general practice, and figures from Public Health England (PHE) and the British Heart Foundation show that A&E attendances overall and patients going to hospital for heart attacks are down 50%. Warnings that patients' reluctance to come forward could put them at risk come as leading charities warned that suspension of some routine GP services during the pandemic could also lead to a 'future crisis' if control of conditions such as asthma and COPD deteriorate. Professor Carrie MacEwen, chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said: 'We are very concerned that patients may not be accessing the NHS for care because they either don’t want to be a burden or because they are fearful about catching the virus. 'Everyone should know that the NHS is still open for business and it is vitally important that if people have serious conditions or concerns they seek help. This campaign is an important step in ensuring that people are encouraged to get the care they need when they need it.' Read full story Source: GP online, 25 April 2020
  18. News Article
    GPs are having end of life conversations with their patients because of concerns over a lack of intensive care beds during the coronavirus crisis. Multiple GPs have told HSJ they are talking to patients who are older or in very high risk groups about signing “do not attempt to resuscitate” forms in case these patients were to go on to contract the virus. Some practices have also sent letters to patients requesting they complete the forms, it is understood. One leader of a primary care network, who asked not to be named, told HSJ: “Those in the severe at-risk group and those over 80 are being told they won’t necessarily be admitted to hospital if they catch coronavirus.” Read full story Source: HSJ, 1 April 2020
  19. News Article
    A GP surgery has apologised after sending a letter asking patients with life-limiting illnesses to complete a "do not resuscitate" form. A letter, from Llynfi Surgery in Maesteg, asks people to sign to ensure emergency services would not be called if their condition deteriorated due to coronavirus. "We will not abandon you.. but we have to be frank and realistic," it said. Cwm Taf health board issued an apology from the surgery, the Guardian reports. The letter says in an "ideal situation" doctors would have had this conversation in person but had written to them due to fears they were carrying the virus and were asymptomatic. Read full story Source: BBC News, 1 April 2020
  20. News Article
    GP practices should review 1.5 million patients identified by NHS England as the most vulnerable to the coronavirus. NHS England will send a standard letter to these patients asking them to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks. GPs will be able to access a report on which patients will be contacted with specific advice, with NHS England directing GPs to review the list and provide additional support to patients. The patients, who are at ‘the highest risk of severe illness that would require hospitalisation from coronavirus’, include those who have had an organ transplant; people with specific cancers; people with severe respiratory conditions; people with rare diseases; people on immunosuppression therapies; and pregnant women with significant heart disease. In a letter to GPs, NHS England said: "We ask that you review this report for accuracy and, where any of these patients have dementia, a learning disability or autism, that you provide appropriate additional support to them to ensure they continue receiving access to care." Read full story Source: Management in Practice, 24 March 2020
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