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LMC Update 9 September 2021

Publication date: September 2021

Flu Vaccines Delay 
Many practices will have been affected by the delays affecting delivery of the Seqirus flu vaccine. The company have stated that the problem is due to ‘unforeseen road freight challenges’ and told practices not to book any clinics until it has confirmed delivery seven days in advance.

Inevitably this has caused considerable difficulty and frustration for practices and patients, and has resulted in some cases in cancellation of vaccination sessions. Our understanding is that the delay is limited to Seqirus vaccines, and that the three other vaccine providers for the UK – Sanofi, Mylan, and Astra Zeneca – have not reported delays and are not anticipating any difficulties. 

It is therefore advisable for practices which have not already done so to check with their suppliers on anticipated deliveries and make any necessary changes to their plans accordingly. Should you still experience difficulties please report this to the LMC and we will try to assist. 

Blood Tube Supply Disruption 
NHS England and Improvement’s guidance issued on 26 August 2021 regarding actions to protect the supply of test tubes for blood samples from Becton Dickinson (BD) still stands. 

All primary care and community testing must be halted until 17 September 2021, except for clinically urgent testing. Examples of clinically urgent testing include: 
• Bloods that are required to facilitate a two week wait referral 
• Bloods that are extremely overdue and/or essential for safe prescribing of medication or monitoring of condition 
• Bloods that if taken could avoid a hospital admission or prevent an onward referral 
• Those with suspected sepsis or conditions with a risk of death or disability

The guidance goes on to say that if organisations are likely to run out of products within 48 hours, please notify your pathology incident director and your NHS England and NHS Improvement regional team. The guidance advises practices not do any routine blood tests until the situation has been resolved and until then, urgent blood investigations can still be done as supplies allow (the national indemnity scheme, CNSGP, will cover this situation).

Survey of practices' experiences of using PCSE payments and pensions portal in August
The BMA continues to challenge PCSE at national level to ensure that their pay and pensions portal in England is fit for use by both GPs and practices. The portal has now been in use for three months and they are looking to gauge how effective the various ‘fixes’ put in place by PCSE to correct what they have described as ‘teething issues’. 

This is now a critical time where PCSE and NHSE/I will be looking to end the transformation process and return to ‘business as usual’. It’s important to be confident that the many significant issues around payments to practices which blighted the first couple of months of the portal’s use are largely behind us. To this end, the BMA are launching a joint survey, with the Institute of General Practice Management, for practices and practice managers to learn of their experiences of using the system during August specifically. They are also keen to know about experiences of contacting PCSE for support around issues raised around the portal since it came into use on 1 June. 

We know how incredibly busy practices are but completing the survey should take no longer than 10 minutes and will be invaluable in holding PCSE and NHSE accountable for the portal’s performance. The survey will remain open until Friday 17 September.

BMA GP survey 
The BMA also want to hear directly from doctors about their experiences working as a GP. Their new survey asks about the issues affecting you most, including your workload, recruitment and your future career plans. The survey is primarily aimed at fully qualified GPs who are currently working. They will be running a survey for GP trainees separately later in the year.
This survey will support the BMA’s negotiations and lobbying. Your responses will also help them better understand the issues affecting GPs. The survey is open until 20 September and will take around 10-15 minutes to complete. 

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