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The waiting game

Virtual care home rounds 'not part of DES for now', says NHS England

The call for practices to conduct virtual care home rounds announced this week is not part of the DES for now but is only 'clinical guidance', NHS England has said.

NHS England said earlier this week that it was 'bringing forward'  the roll-out of the primary care network DES's Enhanced Health in Care Homes service.

However last night, the NHS England director of primary care claimed that this requirement remains separate to the DES for the moment. 

Pulse understands that the Network DES funding will be separate from doing these virtual ward rounds until October, when it will officially become part of the DES. 

Speaking in a live webinar last night, Dr Nikki Kanani said that the request is 'outside of the care home DES or the PCN DES'.

She added: 'We know that the DES doesn't start until October.

'We recognise that and we're not trying to force it through or put it in in a way that's not right or tolerable but [give you] some clinical guidance that if in your patch you are not able to currently support your care homes, we might be able to find a way through getting more support to you [or], more resources.'

An NHS England spokesperson said: 'Although the coronavirus pressures on primary care have been different from those affecting intensive care doctors and nurses and hospitals, GPs are just as committed as every other part of the Health Service to go 'above and beyond' in supporting vulnerable people in the biggest global health emergency in a century.

'Although practices report that GP consultations are sharply down, practices are stepping up in other ways including supporting older people living in care homes. These are vulnerable patients who are clearly are in need of the extra support which practices can - and are - helping with.'

It contradicts NHS England’s letter published earlier this week which said that it would ’bring 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.’

Meanwhile, the BMA's GP Committee called on NHS England to reverse 'unacceptable' plans for GPs to do weekly 'virtual rounds' in care homes from May.

Readers' comments (20)

  • PCN DES is looking more and more like a poorly funded work dump on GP. Also a tool for NHS control of GP. BMA 83:53 rejection was understandable. That rejection is frightening DoH/ NHS into moderation of this and that to mask the underlying structure, but we have until 31/5/20 to decide on this don't we. BMA has to show it understands the issues.

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  • Your MBE is safe Nikki.

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  • Scrap the PCNs.

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  • i'm not sure why she gets the idea we are not busy; taking lots of telephone triage; the only difference is not converting to many face to face, but dealing with alot of mental health issues; maybe her surgery isn't busy so have lots of time on their hands to think up 'helpful hints'; just thinking aloud. my mbe is stuffed

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  • What is the point of MBE, OBE, KBE, if you don't believe in Britain's German monarchy or believe in triggers to remember the British Empire. May be we should ask the new leftie poster white boy, Sir Keir

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  • NHSE caught red handed says it didn't want it anyway?
    My children could do better than that when they were five!

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  • National Hopeless Service

    Nikki when this is over I really think you ought to return to real General Practice for a while. That thing that the rest us have been busying ourselves with happily without yours and NHSE interference for weeks. It is becoming more apparent that your sessional GP role, MSC and MBE have detached you from coal face general practice.

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  • Key words - ****"for now"****

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  • NHSE have clearly shown their hand. After May if you are signed up to the PCN you will have NO CHOICE but to deliver this (with the contractual arrangements to unilaterally add little extras of their choosing if they so wish). Why on earth are you all sleepwalking into this?

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  • As pointed out “for now” given there is a plan to get back to normality in 6/52 (idiot e mail I binned yesterday from memory) I’m sure the PCN’s are all chomping at the bit to sort the Cancer part of the new DES

    To be fair my dead pet dog could probably have organised this better!

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