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GP Bulletin October 2010

  • Last modified date:
    29 October 2010
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Comprehensive Spending Review – details announced

The Government has announced details of the Spending Review 2010 for the period from 2011/12 to 2014/15 and, in line with its commitment to protect health, the overall NHS budget will increase. In addition, there is a clear commitment to support social care. For health, the overall budget will increase by 0.4 percent in real terms. This includes: a 1.3 percent increase in the resource budget; a 17 percent decrease in capital spending; a reduction in the administration budget of 33 percent; and reinvestment to support the delivery of NHS services. Sir David Nicholson, NHS Chief Executive, and David Behan, Director General, Local Government and Care Partnerships, have both written letters setting out the implications of the Spending Review settlement.

Improving choice and information in the NHS: have your say

The NHS White Paper sets out the Government’s proposals for putting people in charge of decisions about their health and care. To make this a reality, two new consultations have been launched – 'An Information Revolution' and 'Greater choice and control' – setting out proposed next steps. Key proposals include giving patients a choice of any willing provider of NHS care that meets high quality standards and can provide services within an agreed price, giving people more choice of treatment, and extending choice in specific healthcare areas. GPs are encouraged to submit their views by 14 January 2011.

Commissioning packs launched

Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley has announced the first in a series of Commissioning Packs to make the commissioning of clinical services easier, improve services for patients and raise quality and efficiency. The packs provide practical and tailored guidance, templates and tools to assist commissioners. The first pack has been developed for cardiac rehabilitation services – packs for dementia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease services will be developed and launched next year.


Guide to real-time patient feedback

The 'Best practice guide to using real-time patient feedback' has been published, following a six-month evaluation of the use of real-time patient feedback in 22 GP practices in England. The aims were to understand how real-time feedback could help to improve patient experience in GP practice settings and to identify the key learning from the GP practices that took part. The guide includes case studies highlighting best practice for GPs interested in using real-time patient feedback.

GP dispensing feescales

The new feescales are the result of an annual recalculation and came into effect on 1 October 2010. For 2010/11, the fees envelope has increased to £168.7 million, up from £165.8 million last year. The feescales, which have been reduced by 0.5 percent to deliver this envelope, have been calculated by the NHS Information Centre and agreed by the DH, NHS Employers and the BMA General Practitioners Committee.

Changes to legislation regarding eligibility for the flu treatments

From 1 November, subject to Parliamentary approval of regulations, the groups of ‘at risk’ people who are eligible to receive the influenza treatments Tamiflu and Relenza on the NHS will be broadened to include pregnant women. The regulations also reflect revisions to the licensing conditions of the treatments relating to the age at which they can be prescribed for children and the time at which the patient can start therapy. Full details of the changes will be included in November’s edition of Part XVIIIB of the Drug Tariff. GPs should note the proposed amendment to existing provisions and ensure their practices are prepared to accommodate the expanded list of ‘at risk’ groups.

Efficient use of vaccines

GP practices are encouraged to sign up to DH's ImmForm website so they can order and track their vaccine deliveries online. As well as being the most efficient way to order vaccines, ImmForm will increasingly be used to provide information and reports on vaccine ordering and usage. To register, practices will need their NHS code, Movianto UK account number(s), and the name, email and phone details of the key contact responsible for placing orders. More details are set out in a letter that has been sent to SHA immunisation leads and PCT immunisation co-ordinators. The letter advises on the steps being taken to ensure that vaccine is used safely and efficiently.

New action on cancer to save thousands more lives every year

Secretary of State Andrew Lansley has announced plans to assist the NHS to be among the world's best in cancer treatment and survival. These commitments include new bowel cancer screening technology; £50 million for additional cancer drugs this year, provided via the interim cancer drugs fund; an increase in the number of specialists involved in cancer services; expanded access to proton beam therapy treatment; and ‘signs and symptoms’ campaigns to encourage people to visit their GP should they recognise key symptoms of

The Information Prescription Service – call for content

GPs can now add their own information to this national repository to make it even more relevant to patients. The Information Prescription Service (IPS) is an online service that helps GPs and practice staff to give patients the information they need, when they need it. It provides easy access to NHS information, alongside quality-assured information from many of Britain’s leading charities. GPs can add content specific to conditions or treatments, or more general information that local people will find useful, for example signposts to local services or patient support groups.

Comparative information on cancer

This information has now been published for every general practice population. The Practice Profiles aim to help primary care think about clinical practice and service delivery in cancer, particularly in early diagnosis. GP leads have been appointed to all cancer networks to talk to practices about their individual profiles and opportunities for quality improvement.

Complementary healthcare regulation

GPs are asked to recommend patients who are seeking complementary therapies to consult with practitioners who are registered with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), where it registers the professional discipline concerned. The CNHC is a Government-sponsored, voluntary registration body for complementary healthcare practitioners. Its key function is to provide access to a list of practitioners that have been assessed as meeting national standards of competence and practice. Registration is currently voluntary and not all complementary healthcare practitioners from these disciplines are registered. This does not necessarily mean that they are not qualified, but it does mean that the CNHC knows nothing about their qualifications or experience. The CNHC will open the register to more disciplines over the next year.

Walk4Life for patients

The Walk4Life campaign – a sub-brand of Change4Life – was rolled out in September, and aims to promote walking as a free, fun and effective form of exercise. Walk4Life resources are available to GPs and practice nurses who support Change4Life, and they are asked to encourage their patients to take up walking for improved health.

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