Page last updated: 12 January, 2021, 11:25am
Primary Care E-bulletin (issue 100) – 4 December
In this issue:
- NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme update
- Increasing flu vaccine take-up amongst priority groups
- Vitamin D provision for patients following national announcement
- Non-emergency patient transport into London Trusts
- Reminder: Non-clinical cancer screening workshop
- National webinar dates for your diary
- Mid and South Essex Training Hub
- Think 111 First update and interim promotional toolkit
- Ongoing resilience and self-confidence videos for jobseekers
- The Effective Support Website is moving
- NHS England Primary Care COVID-19 Bulletin
NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme
Appointment-booking for COVID vaccination
Practices will have seen the note below in the national NHSE/I bulletin on 3 December: “Vaccination Hubs and practices will need to configure clinical systems to allow appointment sharing for patient vaccination. GP Connect are running some webinars to help you get set up. Hubs should register for a webinar and choose a session covering the GP clinical system you need to configure. Practices need to book appointments into hubs should register using a different link.”
GP Connect is a national system that was developed to enable appointment booking between GP clinical systems and directly from 111 providers. In Mid and South Essex we have 26 of the 28 PCNs only using one clinical system – SystmOne. As such direct appointment booking sharing can be used to manage COVID vaccination booking for these PCNs, which is much easier to use and maintain and enables practices to manage this from their own SystmOne units.
We are working with AGEM CSU to produce guidance on configuring and managing this safely and efficiently. It should go out to PCNs early next week.
There are two PCNs which have a mixed clinical systems estate, Stanford and Corringham PCN in Thurrock and Dengie and South Woodham Ferrers PCN in mid Essex. Primary Care teams for each of these PCNs will be in touch to advise how to manage this based on local needs.
Enhanced Service Specification – opt-in deadline MONDAY 7 DECEMBER
NHSE/I have published the Enhanced Service Specification for Primary Care Networks that have received confirmation they will be local vaccination centres, plus a letter about next steps. We remain grateful that PCNs that have stepped forward for their support and commitment.
Practices have until 23:59 on Monday 7 December 2020 to opt into the Enhanced Service by notifying their CCG by email. Please send emails confirming sign-up to the same address, email@example.com.
PCN Leads were also asked to complete a national Workforce Return by today, Friday 4 December. Please share these workforce returns with your CCG so we are able to support you with any gaps. You can screenshot the form if easier for you, and please send to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mid and South Essex GPN COVID-19 Vaccine Forum
It was excellent to see so many faces at the first MSE COVID-19 Vaccine Forum for General Practice Nurses last night – thanks to everyone that attended and for the great feedback. Details of more events will follow soon.
Signposting patients to national vaccine information and seeking their support
The public can really help the NHS to deliver our vaccination programmes effectively to those who need it most. Please share with your patients these simple steps they can take to support us.
We will contact you when it’s the right time to come forward, so please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine before then. Please act on your invite when it comes, and make sure you attend your appointments when you arrange them. And of course, please continue to abide by all the social distancing and hand hygiene guidance, which will still save lives.
NHS England is regularly refreshing public information about the COVID vaccination programme at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine and we would advise that you signpost any patients to that web page in the first instance if they have questions about vaccine safety or efficacy, or their priority to receive one.
IMPORTANT: Register interest in local COVID-19 Vaccination programme
If you or someone you know would like to register interest in supporting the local COVID-19 vaccination programme, please do so via the Essex Primary Care Careers website.
If you have any questions about the Vaccination Programme yourself, please do email email@example.com so the Incident Management Team can log and respond in a coordinated way to the high number of queries coming in. Some further information is also available in the question-and-answer document you can download from the button below.
Increasing flu vaccine take-up amongst priority groups
Primary care continues to do great work vaccinating vulnerable patients and uptake in many risk groups is progressing well.
There are some priority groups where uptake is lower, and our data shows that so far 26% of people with chronic liver disease in the East of England have been vaccinated for flu.
With a national target of vaccinating 75% of people across all risk groups, primary care can play an important part by promoting the flu vaccine to this group.
Suggestions from our colleagues at NHS ENgland to increase flu vaccine uptake for people with chronic liver disease are:
- Check your practice list for patients with chronic liver disease, check their coding and promote vaccination to them by text or phone
- Promote the vaccine for this group on your website
- Encourage practice staff to opportunistically promote the vaccine during appointments or telephone calls with this group
- Consider offering evening and weekend appointments to this group as some may be unable to attend in working hours
You can also remind your at-risk patients with a text message reminder, such as the example below, which can be signed off by a practice clinician to stress the importance:
“You are eligible for a free flu vaccine. It is more important than ever to get vaccinated with the risks of both flu and COVID-19 this winter. Those with chronic liver disease are at risk from flu complications. Book your appointment by calling………..”
Vitamin D provision for patients following national announcement
You may be aware that the Government is recommending vitamin D supplements for the general population throughout this winter. The offer of free supplements is for people on the “shielded” list (extremely clinically vulnerable to COVID-19) alongside the “Healthy Start” offer. Otherwise, official guidance is that people must self-purchase.
Please be assured that CCGs will be sharing this information with the public as part of a clear message not to seek prescriptions from General Practice. Shielding patients will receive a letter advising they are eligible for a free supply. If they do not have that letter, they must purchase over the counter. Therefore, please do not prescribe vitamin D supplements outside of the two cohorts above.
We want to ensure you can signpost patients who do so without a specific need to online information to defuse concerns. As well as the CCG announcements, practices can signpost patients to advice for taking the supplement: www.gov.uk/government/publications/vitamin-d-
More general advice on keeping up vitamin D levels is online here: www.nhs.uk/vitamin-d.
Non-emergency patient transport into London Trusts
We appreciate that practices may need to book non-emergency patient transport for a London Trust or may receive patient queries about transport to one, so we are sharing the latest information about this. The contact details for patient transport providers for various London Trusts are available from the button below. If a patient is attending a hospital not on that list, they should go through our main non-emergency transport provider, TASL.
Education and training
Reminder: Non-clinical cancer screening workshop
If possible, please give your non-clinical staff time to attend this interactive workshop, which is aimed at improving their confidence in discussing cancer screening with patients.
The workshop is led by Cancer Research UK facilitator Alison Reeve and will cover:
- Introduction to the national breast, cervical and bowel screening programmes.
- Examples of how you can contribute to increasing cancer screening uptake at your practice
Sessions have been planned for 1pm-2pm on 9 December, 16 December and 17 December 2020 to minimise inconvenience to practices in allowing any of your non-clinical staff with an interest in promoting cancer screening to attend. Please sign them up via Eventbrite by following the link in the button below left. A leaflet with more details is available from the button below right.
National webinar dates for your diary
- Wednesday 9 December, 12.30pm-2.30pm: GP parental leave webinar with the BMA (which accompanies their new leaflet on the subject to help trainees and experienced GPs alike plan for maternity or paternity leave)
- Thursday 10 December, 10.30am-1.30pm: NHS Volunteer Responder update webinar
Mid and South Essex Training Hub
For the latest initiatives from the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership Training Hub, please visit the Training Hub section of our website.
Think 111 First update and interim promotional toolkit
You may recall back in November we updated you on a significant national programme being implemented across mid and south Essex; Think NHS111 First. On 1 December the new system went ‘live’ across mid and south Essex; residents who have an urgent medical problem and think they need to visit the emergency department at their local hospital, or are not sure what to do, are asked to call NHS 111 first.
If a visit to the emergency department is necessary, they will be given a time slot when they should attend. If they arrive at the emergency department without contacting NHS 111 first, they will still be seen, but may have to wait longer unless they need immediate treatment.
We are still waiting for the complete set of campaign materials from NHS England, but we have attached some materials to this update in the meantime. We would be grateful if you would help us communicate Think NHS111 First to the general public via your own channels.
More details are in the Word document available from the button below. The interim toolkit is embedded within it along with the original briefing about the campaign. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more details or want to use the materials but are having difficulty extracting them from the document.
Ongoing resilience and self-confidence videos for jobseekers
You may wish to inform your social prescribing Link Worker and care navigators in particular about a set of videos aimed at supporting people who are struggling to find work at present.
The videos come from a project funded by the nationally lottery and Euopean Social Fund called HeadsUp. It provides advice to common mental health problems about getting back into the workplace after a period of unemployment.
Along with practical job seeking skills, the videos cover vital personal skills that viewers can hone to make sure they feel ready and able to start looking for the right job or training course, write applications and feel ready to attend interviews when the opportunities arise.
You can refer people who might benefit from working with HeadsUp straight to the group. More info such as how to referral is available from the HeadsUp website, www.enableeast.org.uk/headsup.
The Essex Effective Support website is moving
Essex County Council is moving the web content from the Essex Effective Support website to the Children and Families section of the Essex.gov.uk site. The new link is:
The move includes changes to access for the online “Request for Support” portal where people can share concerns for a child, young person or family. The Essex Directory of Services is also affected by the move, but you will be redirected to the new pages automatically so you should not need to make changes in your web browser.
The change is intended to make information more accessible and will happen on Monday 7 December. For further information, please contact Alison Duguid, Lead for Pre-Birth to 19, Children and Families team, Essex County Council on:
Telephone: 03330 135321
You can sign up to the Children and Families Hub newsletter to stay informed about the tools and resources available to both health and care professionals and families with different needs.