This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pulse june2020 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

GPs go forth

GPs told to start 'virtual' weekly care home rounds from next month

GPs and community teams will be expected to carry out a 'virtual' weekly care home round as NHS England moves into the 'second phase' of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a letter to all parts of the health service, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said this comes as the country is 'coming through' the 'peak of hospitalisations'.

In this next phase 'we are going to see increased demand for Covid-19 aftercare and support in community health services, primary care, and mental health,' Mr Stevens added.

The letter said this would include bringing 'forward from October to May 2020 the national roll out of key elements of the primary and community health service-led Enhanced Health in Care Homes service'.

NHS England said that 'further details' would be 'set out shortly', but said requirements will include a weekly care home round, carried out 'virtually'.

The letter said: 'To further support care homes, the NHS will bring forward a package of support to care homes drawing on key components of the Enhanced Care in Care Homes service and delivered as a collaboration between community and general practice teams.

'This should include a weekly virtual "care home round" of residents needing clinical support.'

Just before Christmas, NHS England put forward proposals for GPs to carry out fortnightly care home ‘ward rounds’ as part of its Network DES, to be brought in later this year.

However, following an outcry, it watered down these proposals as part of the 2020/21 contract agreement, allowing PCNs to decide how often 'medical input' is required - suggesting other clinical staff may take on the visits instead - as long as it was ‘appropriate and consistent’. 

The news comes as GPs have voiced serious concern for their care home patients as over 3,000 residents have now died.

The letter also provided some more detail on the Government's announcement earlier in the week that non-Covid NHS services would begin to be 'restored'.

It said regarding cancer that 'referrals, diagnostics (including direct access diagnostics available to GPs) and treatment must be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the postpandemic surge in demand'.

It said that over the next six weeks, 'urgent action should be taken by hospitals to receive new two-week wait referrals and provide two-week wait outpatient and diagnostic appointments at pre-Covid-19 levels in Covid-19 protected hubs/environments'.

This comes as a study published today estimated that cancer deaths could rise by a fifth due to the pandemic, with urgent cancer referrals down by 76%.

It also said GPs should deliver 'as much routine and preventative work as can be provided safely', including screening, with the direction coming as NHS England had previously told Pulse screening programmes were under review.

The 'second phase' of the pandemic response

NHS England has set out the 'key points for primary care' as follows:

  • Ensure patients have clear information on how to access primary care services and are confident about making appointments (virtual or if appropriate, face-to-face) for current concerns.
  • Complete work on implementing digital and video consultations, so that all patients and practices can benefit.
  • Given the reduction of face-to-face visits, stratify and proactively contact their high-risk patients with ongoing care needs, to ensure appropriate ongoing care and support plans are delivered through multidisciplinary teams. In particular, proactively contact all those in the ‘shielding’ cohort of patients who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, ensure they know how to access care, are receiving their medications, and provide safe home visiting wherever clinically necessary.
  • To further support care homes, the NHS will bring forward a package of support to care homes drawing on key components of the Enhanced Care in Care Homes service and delivered as a collaboration between community and general practice teams. This should include a weekly virtual ‘care home round’ of residents needing clinical support.
  • Make two-week wait cancer, urgent and routine referrals to secondary care as normal, using ‘advice and guidance’ options where appropriate.
  • Deliver as much routine and preventative work as can be provided safely including vaccinations immunisations, and screening.

Source: NHS England bulletin to practices on 29 April

 

 

Related images

  • frail old lady a12 tc5 3x2

Readers' comments (29)

  • Isn’t that effectively the bit was extra popular with GP’s in the “new” contract that imploded at Xmas?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It would appear NHSE are going to take advantage of the current situation and force through their agenda for primary care, albeit with some modifications.
    Some of us warned the profession about a contract which allowed the unilateral imposition of changes and were pooh-poohed by the negotiators at the time. We are independent contractors with no independence but all the liabilities.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Cobblers

    Far be it for me to start any kind of conspiracy theory 'Fake news' but there is an argument that the government's management so far has been design and not cock up. To have a clear out of the Care home beds to free up space for the hospital bed blockers to move into could be a Machiavellian Cummings sub plot.

    Or maybe just a cock up.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • NHSE seems very good at telling everyone else what to do.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 200 Care home patients in 24 homes. That’s a lot of virtual ward rounds. If only we were allowed to move to one home, one practice. Many homes round here will be having 4 or 5 virtual rounds a week. Where will they find the time to do it?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Notice how the establishment are pushing all the BS through under the trojan horse of covid.RELP anyone.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The first of the (predicted) PCN DES chickens to come home to roost.
    We have actually started this already as a response to Covid thanks to good IT support, good CCG support but most importantly the ability to make the care homes use video consults as there was no other way of their residents receiving care. This was never possible when we couldnt refuse to visit!
    It does however show you can't trust the DES as far as you can throw it.
    Just wait till OOH kicks in.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Where is our representation at national level pointing out that the funding and staffing is just not there to support this?? BMA? RCGP? LMC?
    Video infrastructure getting into place for us in surgery, but haven’t seen any push to make care homes acquire tech to make it possible. At the moment we’re using care staff’s own smartphones to do video. Short term solution for covid but not a long term answer, surely?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The REMFs(*) are back.

    (*Rear Echelon Medical Facilitators).

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Medical Facilitators ? I thought the M And F in REMF stood for something else?!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say