Page last updated: 4 June, 2020, 6:00pm
Primary Care E-bulletin (Issue 42) – 3 June 2020
In this issue:
- Mid and south Essex cancer update
- Update to shielding guidance
- NHS cervical screening programme restoration guidance
- Principles of safe video consulting
- FREE NHS staff parking in local authority car parks
- Antibody testing for staff
- Update: antibody test kits for home use
- 119 call centre
- Communications resources: NHS test and trace service
- Safeguarding fabulous fortnight
- GP practice cyber security incident protocol
- NHSE primary care COVID-19 bulletin
Support with day-to-day issues
Mid and south Essex cancer update
Following on from the summary of 2WW services sent out in our 15 April briefing, please note that GPs should continue referring as normal using the 2WW system for suspected cancer.
Update to shielding guidance
Now that the peak has passed and the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community has reduced, the Secretary of State announced that those advised to shield can take initial steps to safely spend time outdoors.
The shielding guidance is now updated to reflect this announcement and will lay out how a shielded person can go outside once a day with members of their household or, for those shielding alone, with one other person from a different household. This is in accordance with evidence that the rate of transmission is much lower outside.
Some important aspects of the guidance will remain the same. Apart from going outside once per day, as outlined above, a shielded person should continue to avoid all non-essential face to face contact. This means they should not go to places like supermarkets or to pharmacies. The support for shielded people remains in place and unchanged.
As with all shielding policy, this is advice and is not mandatory. If a shielded person does not feel comfortable going outside once a day then that is of course up to them.
The Government has also confirmed that it will be reviewing shielding guidance alongside wider changes to social distancing, including plans to write to those on the shielding patients list with information about next steps on shielding after the next review on 15 June 2020.
NHS cervical screening programme restoration guidance
Following the publication of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme Restoration Guidance, there are some specific actions that practices need to made aware of.
The guidance focuses on the restoration of services within colposcopy clinics and testing labs, however, practices need to undertake proactive measures to ensure that the service restores in a timely manner. These actions are:
- Women who are eligible and due for cervical screening should be offered appointments
- Invitations and reminder letters will be sent from June 2020
Priorities for primary care providers:
- Providers should follow guidance informed by national guidance for use of PPE by health and social care workers on COVID-19 (Table 2).
- The Infection Prevention and Control Team are running training sessions, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org to book onto the session.
- Providers to be aware that there will be incremental increase numbers of individuals being invited for screening
- Providers should review their local records or use final non-responder lists to identify individuals whose screening may have been affected by COVID-19 (cancellation/ delay/ response to pandemic) and be proactive in contacting them about their screening
- Providers can now only defer in accordance with programme guidance (practice invitation reason should no longer be used)
- Some older women who are due or became overdue in the last 6 months for a final screen, remain eligible and should be screened. Any concern that the lab may discard sample due to age should be mitigated by labelling the sample “test delayed due to COVID-19”.
Principles of safe video consulting
As per our previous bulletin, new guidance, endorsed by RCGP has been published. It is aimed at NHS general practice staff who are consulting via video with patients at home.
Free NHS staff parking in local authority car parks
The Local Government Secretary has announced that local councils will offer free on-street and off-street car parking in local authority car parks to all NHS staff members, health or social care workers, and NHS Volunteer Responders during the COVID-19 emergency response.
The pass can be used as evidence that a motorist is on official duty, giving them access to free council car parking as outlined in the accompanying guidance. Please note, this does not apply to privately owned car parks. There’s a digital copy which allows a user to fill in the fields with a computer before printing, or an easy to print version. The link to the guidance is here.
Update: Antibody test kits for home use
Some UK providers such as high street pharmacies and private healthcare providers offer COVID-19 antibody testing for members of the public. The test involves taking a fingerprick blood sample.
The laboratory tests are CE marked and safe for use on blood drawn from the vein by a healthcare professional, but have not yet been validated by the manufacturer of the test to be used with a fingerprick blood sample.
It’s very important for people at home to be able to understand the reliability of the result and what it means for them. A positive result may not mean a person is immune or if they demonstrate immunity now, or how long this will last.
The Government strongly advises members of the public or organisations who have purchased these tests and received antibody results to continue to follow the Government’s advice whatever the result of the test.
The Government is contacting providers of the antibody testing services and the laboratories running these tests to ask them to temporarily stop offering these tests for sale until the regulatory and safety concerns have been resolved.
119 call centre
By calling the 119 call centre, members of the public who don’t have online access can book a coronavirus swab test and ask any questions relating to having a test and getting results.
Communications resources: NHS Test and Trace service
A range of new assets that can be used to promote and explain the NHS Test and Trace Service are now available from the Campaign Resource Centre. These include static and animated social media assets, posters and digital screens.
Updated materials for NHS facilities including hospitals, GP practices, pharmacies and other NHS settings are also available to download.
Safeguarding fabulous fortnight
NHS Safeguarding invite you to the following events spanning a safeguarding life course. Anyone can join so feel free to share this amongst your colleagues, these hours will contribute to any level 3 ICD.
GP practice cyber security incident protocol
Please find below a document which outlines the approved protocol to be taken by GP practices if a potential Cyber Security Incident (CSI) has been identified.