Latest updates from your local medical community
Pulse has just reported on the NICE consultation on their draft guidance on prescribing medicinal cannabis. It proposes to introduce shared care agreements, in which the initial prescriber is a specialist doctor and then the subsequent prescriber could be healthcare professionals, including GPs. We are aware that this is a new and specialist area of treatment and prescribing and therefore requires specialist teams to be involved in properly assessing, and then if appropriate, treating and monitoring relevant patients. This would be the case for any very specialist drug and much remains to be seen as we move forward. The way to improve access to this assessment and treatment will be to properly resource specialist services and enable hospital services to access electronic prescribing systems. The GPC and BMA will be responding to the consultation.
The NHS England consultation process on Digital First is open for comments until 31st August 2019 and we would encourage you all to respond. GPC England has now submitted a response. The paper sets out proposed changes to patient registration, funding and contracting rules and makes suggestions for tackling workforce shortages, particularly in under-doctored and deprived communities. The GPC England response makes clear the out of area regulations should be withdrawn as they allow digital providers to profit by prioritising largely healthy patients and short-term care rather than delivering a comprehensive service for patients with more healthcare needs and providing continuity of care for all in a local population.
The Government has announced a number of proposed changes to improve the NHS Pension scheme, including a consultation on pension flexibility, a commitment to review the impact of the Annual Allowance taper and guidance to employers setting out how existing flexibilities can be used to ensure doctors do not lose out. The BMA has led the change against damaging tax legislation and in response to the announcement, Chaand Nagpaul, BMA Council Chair, said: "We acknowledge this step forward by the Government." However, he went on to say: "The new proposed flexibilities will provide short-term relief for many doctors, but they themselves do not tackle the core and underlying problem."
The Home Office has published a consultation on draft guidelines for police issuing firearms licences. This will ensure officers are consistently checking applicants' medical fitness to hold a licence and have signed an agreement with the BMA and will provide greater protection for GPs who choose to place a firearms flag on the medical record.
Yet another failure by Capita/PCSE was made known to GPC this week. In response, GPC have again demanded that Capita be stripped of its contract to supply GP support services after the company admitted further administration errors. In this latest event, correspondence sent to three email inboxes were left unprocessed for around two years. While Capita has not confirmed the total number of emails which went unprocessed, the BMA understands that it is in the region of thousands.
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