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GPs to resume patient reviews and health checks immediately

GPs must resume patient reviews and health checks including routine medication reviews from 1 July, NHS England has announced.

Practices must also resume the delivery of face-to-face care ‘where clinically appropriate’, NHS England said in a letter to GPs last night.

It comes as elements of QOF reporting are also being reinstated, including a ‘major expansion’ of the flu programme.

In the letter, NHS England said practices must resume routine medication reviews, new patient reviews - including on alcohol dependency - clinical reviews of frailty and health checks for those over 75 if these have been ‘deprioritised’.

These must all be reinstated from 1 July, although NHS England said practices will have to use their ‘clinical judgement’ to prioritise the ‘backlog’, it said.

Practices must offer to deliver these services face-to-face where this can be done ‘safely’ and home visits only used ‘in exceptional cases’, the letter added.

It said: ‘Where this care cannot be delivered safely face-to-face or where the patient has other medical conditions which still require them to shield or socially isolate the review could be conducted remotely, with as much of the physical review completed as is practicable in these circumstances.’

Local commissioners are also ‘encouraged’ to reintroduce local enhanced services, local incentive schemes and local pilots as part of ‘wider plans to step up routine and non-urgent services’, the letter added.

And local audit and assurance activities should also be reintroduced ‘as soon as practicable’, it said.

However, these resumed activities - as well as engagement with and review of patient participation groups - may need to be suspended locally by CCGs in ‘extreme circumstances’ such as local outbreaks, subject to approval, NHS England said.

PHE has also ‘recommended’ that practices resume the routine call for shingles vaccination programme from 1 July 2020, NHS England added.

Practices should offer the vaccine ‘on an opportunistic basis’ to patients who have turned 80 since 1 February and have not been vaccinated for shingles between now and 31 December, it said.

Payment will be managed by local commissioners and should be at the same rate as other shingles vaccines, it added.

The letter, which outlines the 'second phase' for the general practice 'response to coronavirus', further said that ‘all practices must now also deliver face to face care, where clinically appropriate’.

It said: ‘It should be clear to patients that all practice premises are open to provide care, with adjustments to the mode of delivery. 

‘No practice should be communicating to patients that their premises are closed. Nor should they be redirecting patients to other parts of the system, except where clinically assessed as appropriate.’

However, it added that digital consultations should be offered ‘as standard - unless there are good clinical reasons otherwise’.

It comes as the letter also announced that NHS England is working to ‘redesign the current process’ for GP appraisals, with the intention to ‘take a flexible approach’ to their reintroduction in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Readers' comments (20)

  • how does this all stack up ?
    we are chasing our tails already clearing the backlog
    workload is up
    ppe takes time to put on / off

    why push non essentila wpork now ?

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  • Just the usual sabre rattling from NHSE, panicking about the backlog of routine care, same in hospitals with waiting lists, 2WW, radiology etc. Now we've all got to pretend that covid has magically disappeared and it is now business as usual!!! Wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

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  • Opposite to letter in March that QOF would be protected based on historic performance, now is subject to 'simplified' indicators, whatever that means.
    Kanani and Waller should be ashamed.

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  • i don't have time to do them as still dealing with backlog, time spent cleaning after using PPE etc etc. pay us the money and we will do what we can when we can but if you push and do not support us you will lose us in the end. being kicked in the head when your already on the floor is not being supportive. This is how NHSE is coming across. its unrealistic and nasty.

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  • so we go back to life as normal but we still cant get anyone seen by secondary care

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  • Get secondary care running first ...There is no point in doing work that may flag up need for investigation or specialist opinion if there is no services running properly in secondary care.

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  • And this fits in with COVID safety how?
    With all due respect.
    NHSE- go and f*ck yourselves. Oh. You already did.

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  • Rogue1

    Yes, we cant get bloods tests done. Clinics aren't taking referrals. Endoscopy isn't going to be normal for the next 12 months!
    Even if we see patients at half speed (due to PPE doff/don) just how are we expected to run normally!?!

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  • I know the management/political structures of the NHS always want things done "Yesterday" [whether clinically evidenced or not] but given that it is now the 10th July resuming on the 1st seems to be pushing even this boundary.
    That said, yes of course the routine, bread and butter stuff that the vast majority of patients rely on has to resume ASAP. I fear that if it doesn't and that the current CoViD-centric attitude continues, then the patience of Patients and the goodwill they have shown to us over the months will diminish quite quickly. Remember, every other sector is striving to return to normal, so should we.

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  • Track and trace a very very quick way to totally close a practice for 2 weeks.Roll on the second wave.

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