General Election Purdah - Advice for Primary Care Networks
Humberside LMCs would like to provide advice on the impact of pre-election purdah on PCNs.
Purdah has implications for NHS organisations, including the arm's-length bodies such as NHS England, CQC and NHS Improvement over this period. During these periods, communications either in the form of announcements or activities by NHS organisations should be avoided if they could influence, or be regarded as influencing, the outcome of elections. Public authorities should avoid situations that may provide opportunities for party political benefit.
PCNs are not public sector bodies. A PCN is essentially a contractual joint venture between the member practices. The Cabinet Office guidance on purdah does not formally apply to PCNs since it is aimed at civil servants and the board members and staff of Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) and other arms’ length bodies. However, the NHS cannot prevent GPs from political activity, and the RCGP has launched its own campaign for GPs to back candidates that will support investment in general practice. Ultimately, if GPs and PCNs decide that they do want to participate in political activity during the pre-election period they are free to do so.
Our advice is however that it would be prudent for PCNs to observe the key principles of the Cabinet Office guidance during the pre-election period.
• Confine your communication activities and announcements to those necessary for the safety and quality of patient care.
• Consider whether you will allow visits from all your local prospective councillors/local political parties/campaign groups and what format they will take. It is your decision whether to invite them or not. If you do, remember to keep your policy around visits consistent and impartial.
• Keep any communications with local candidates/political parties/campaign groups to a factual and apolitical basis – apply the same approach to any communications with the media and in the public sphere.
• Continue to conduct normal business and adhere to good governance and regulation.
• Continue to plan campaigns post purdah.
• Familiarise yourself with the official guidance from the Cabinet Office.
• Undertake any activity that could be considered politically controversial or influential, or could give rise to criticism that public resources are being used for party political/campaigning purposes. For example, allowing certain public awareness activities that could be deemed party political, market research and public rallies, and producing election materials or canvassing.
• Be selective if you are inviting local prospective councillors/political parties/campaign groups to your premises – invitations should be sent to all or none.
• Allow party political meetings to take place on your organisation’s premises.
• Allow visits by local candidates/political parties, national and local politicians or campaign groups to your organisation to interrupt services or care for patients – make sure your staff are aware of any visits in advance.
• Launch large-scale PR campaigns during this period.
Please contact LMC if you have any questions.
LMC Newsletter October 2019
The October issue of the LMC newsletter is now available. Included in the latest issue:
- New LMC events and training, including Better Conversations training
- Opportunity to become a GP mentor and receive training
- News on flu vaccinations for GP practice staff
Humberside LMC Resilience Support – Appeal for GP Mentors/Coaches
Humberside LMCs invites you to apply to attend a two day Mentor Training course with a view to becoming a self-employed paid mentor for GP-S. GP-S is a free peer mentoring and coaching service for GPs due to launch in Humberside in early 2020.
The service will give all GPs in the area access to a free trained peer mentor/coach for four sessions of face to face support lasting two hours at a time.
Sessions can be used for any problem or opportunity an individual feels they may have, from career or personal development to stress and work/life balance. Everything discussed within GP-S is kept confidential.
To help set up this service, GP-S and Humberside LMC are looking to recruit a number of local GPs to become self-employed paid mentors for the scheme. All Humberside GPs are eligible to apply for the positions. Mentors will need enough time to complete two-hour mentoring sessions away from practice and will be able to determine the distance they feel able to travel.
Once GPs have applied for a position they may be invited to attend a two day training and assessment course. The GP-S potential mentor training and assessment course takes place over two full days on 16th and 17th January 2020. Delegates will need to attend both dates to have the opportunity to progress.
The course will cover mentoring and coaching techniques and focus on the Egan model. On the first day delegates will learn key skills and cement the knowledge already gathered through the pre-course learning materials. The second day will give everyone a chance to practice the model as a client, mentor and observer. Through this, delegates will be assessed to determine if they would be suitable for the role of mentor with GP-S locally.
The course is intensive but highly rewarding and previous delegate feedback has praised the safe and informal learning space created by GP-S trainers.
The training is due to take place on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th January 2020 at the LMCs Boardroom, Albion House, Albion Lane, Willerby, HU10 6TS.
If you’d be interested in attending the course to potentially become a GP-S mentor for Humberside GPs, please email email@example.com by Friday 29th November 2019 to receive an expression of interest form.
Tier 2 Visa Reimbursements - Deadline Extended
Please note that NHSE have extended the deadline for Tier 2 visa reimbursements from 31/01/2020 to 31/03/2020. They will soon be issuing an updated reimbursement form and process, which will also reflect the reduced Tier 2 fees from when GPs were added to the Shortage Occupation List from 6 October.
See our news item of 04/09/2019 (below) for more details on Tier 2 Visas or visit our Tier 2 Visas Guidance page.
LMC Newsletter September 2019
The September 2019 issue of our regular newsletter is now available. Included in this month's issue with all the latest news, events and updates:
- Premises issues update from the GPC
- Additional roles reimbursement guidance
- Latest training and events including HYMS courses
Download the September 2019 newsletter (pdf).
Premises Issues Update
Practices affected by issues with CHP and NHSPS will be interested in the latest update regarding work being done at national level to address these matters.
In summary, the BMA has asked NHS Property Services for an urgent response to concerns over the worrying rise in service charges faced by GP practices. Failing this, legal action will be considered. BMA lawyers have set out in detail the reasons why it believes NHSPS is acting unlawfully in a letter of claim. If no satisfactory response is received, the BMA says it intends to take NHSPS to court. The BMA are currently engaging in the ‘alternative dispute resolution’ process proposed by NHSPS’s lawyers.
Further background to the issue can be found in a recent GPC policy leads update (see the Premises and practice finances update by Gaurav Gupta, pages 8-9).
The BMA has a dedicated area on their website Support with Community Health Partnership (CHP) and NHS Property Service issues (NHS PS) which practices may find useful.
BMA guidance is clear that practices should engage with NHSPS, identify areas where there is a dispute and pay undisputed amounts. Practices should not be forced into any agreement which places the viability of the practice at risk and solutions must be sustainable. Practices should be mindful that the BMA are proceeding with legal action to address historical charges and should ensure that in reaching any agreement independently of this they do not put themselves at risk of any future liability or compromise their future position.
We are happy to provide advice and support to practices facing issues with premises. Contact details here.
Tier 2 Visas for International GPs: Guidance for Practices
Practices looking to recruit GPs from overseas will benefit from new guidance to help with the process of obtaining Tier 2 Visas.
Tier 2 is an immigration route for non-European Economic Area (EEA) migrants who wish to work in the UK. Initially the focus was on doctors from the EEA but has now been widened to include Australia and New Zealand.
In order to obtain a Tier 2 Visa, these migrants must be sponsored by an organisation or company that holds a Tier 2 licence. A licence is a permission given to an organisation by the Home Office to sponsor workers in its business. This licence lasts for 4 years and the organisation is then recognised as a sponsor.
NHS England is offering a package of funding to support any practice who wants to become Tier 2 Visa sponsors. Funding available includes: reimbursement of sponsor licence fee (even if unsuccessful), Certificate of Sponsorship fee, the first two years of Immigration Skills Charge and Visa fees for GP trainee and their family.
There are a number of resources to help practices with Tier 2 Visa Applications:
Tier 2 Visa Applications: Support Information from NHSE - an overview of the rules, and how to get help from NHS England
Becoming a Tier 2 Visa Sponsor - PowerPoint slides outlining the process
Creating and Assigning Certificates of Sponsorship - PowerPoint slides explaining how to create the required certificates
LMC Newsletter August 2019
The August 2019 issue of our regular newsletter is now available to download.
Included on this issue are all the regular updates, events and opportunities including:
- Primary Care Network Data Templates
- New local resource - GP Signposts for Yorkshire and the Humber
- Resilience Resources
Download the August 2019 newsletter (pdf).
New Appointment at Humberside LMCs
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Zoe Norris who will be joining the LMC Secretariat team as Medical Director in August.
Zoe is a sessional GP and Hull Chambers lead for The Medical Chambers and has worked in the East Riding for the last nine years. She also has roles as a GP Appraiser and Clinical Lecturer.
We will be welcoming Zoe when she starts early next month, working with us for one day a week. She will have a key role in informing, supporting and representing GPs and practices, and in liaising with a range of bodies on primary care issues including workload, funding and workforce development.