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					May 2011
www.dh.gov.uk/gpbulletin                                                    Gateway number: 16101

You may freely share the information in the GP and Practice Team Bulletin with colleagues who may find
it useful, but please include www.dh.gov.uk/gp as the source. Alternatively, they can subscribe by
sending an email to Contact_Details@dh.gsi.gov.uk




Click to go to an article
  Update on NHS listening exercise                        National Eye Health Week
  Changes to legislation regarding eligibility for        Heatwave Plan 2011
   flu treatments                                          Updated guidance on common surgical
  Consultation on pandemic flu preparedness                procedures
  Raising awareness of carers’ issues among               Patient information on pleural plaques
   GPs                                                     Updated information on NHS dental services
  The Good Practice Guidelines for GP                      for 2010/11
   electronic patient records                              Lyme disease reminder
  National clinical IT system for prison                  Blue Badge Scheme: correction
   healthcare                                              Reminder: safeguarding responsibilities
  Notification of DS1500 error                             continue until legislative change



Update on NHS listening exercise

GPs only have until 31 May to contribute their views to the listening exercise, which will influence the
Government's Health and Social Care Bill. After this date, you can continue to read the comments from
others that have already been posted online. The NHS Future Forum will be collating all responses over
the coming weeks and expects to publish an independent report mid June.

      Take part in the listening exercise and/or view the feedback


Changes to legislation regarding eligibility for flu treatments

The regulations have been changed to give GPs the flexibility to prescribe Tamiflu and Relenza antiviral
treatments for patients who are not in one of the at-risk groups, but who they consider could develop
medical complications from flu. The changes will be important in the management of flu during next
season’s outbreak. However, this additional flexibility will only be available under guidance from the
Chief Medical Officer, who, in the event of an outbreak, will provide information to reflect the prevailing




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circumstances and advice on how to exercise the additional flexibility. Full details of the changes will be
included in May’s edition of Part XVIIIB of the Drug Tariff.

      Find out more
      Access the May edition of the Drug Tariff


Consultation on pandemic flu preparedness

GPs are invited to comment on the UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy. It will replace and
update the National Framework of 2007 in light of lessons learned from the H1N1 (2009) pandemic, the
findings of the Independent Review of the Swine Flu response and the latest scientific evidence. The
strategy does not include operational matters or issues relating to the proposed new public health
arrangements in England. The consultation closes on 17 June 2011, and the DH intends to publish the
final strategy document later this year.

      Read more and take part in the consultation


Raising awareness of carers’ issues among GPs

In the lead up to Carers Week, 13-19 June, two initiatives have been launched to raise awareness of
carers’ issues among GPs and practice staff. This work also forms part of wider government initiatives in
support of carers. The Supporting Carers in General Practice online programme by e-Learning for
Healthcare explains how GPs and practice staff can support people who care for others, while the launch
of the Modern Workplaces consultation by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills includes
proposals to extend the right to request flexible working arrangements to all employees.

      Access the e-learning for healthcare module
      Take part in the Modern Workplaces consultation


The Good Practice Guidelines for GP electronic records

Version 4 of this guidance has been published as a source of information for all those involved in
developing, deploying and using general practice IT systems. Good records sit at the heart of high
quality care and this guidance reflects best practice and innovation in the use of health information. It
has been written by national experts who are users of clinical systems in their own practices, and aims to
help all practice staff to do their jobs more efficiently. The latest version supersedes version 3.1 (2005)
and is a joint publication by the DH, Royal College of GPs and the British Medical Association.

      Access the guidance on the DH website


National clinical IT system for healthcare

The system has been adopted by all 136 prisons in England and is an important element in the wider
drive to reduce health inequalities and improve healthcare for, and the rehabilitation of, offenders. It
allows GPs working in prisons to share records between prisons electronically, instead of having to wait
for paper records to arrive – for example, when a prisoner is transferred – and provides immediate,

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round-the-clock access to this information. It also means that, when a prisoner is released, GP practices
in the community should now receive better quality health information from prisons.

      Read more on the DH website
      Access full details of the system on the NHS Connecting for Health website



Notification of DS1500 error

Following the release of the latest version of the DS1500 pad, an error has been highlighted on the fee
form. While this is being amended, please do not return the DS1500 medical report with the fee form as
instructed in the declaration paragraph at Part B of Claiming your Fee. Instead, follow the instructions on
the Guidance Notes on the front cover of the DS1500 and give the DS1500 report to the person who
asked you to complete it. To claim your fee, you must complete the fee form and send it to the nearest
Disability Benefits Centre.

      For more information go to the Department for Work and Pensions website


National Eye Health Week

As part of the second National Eye Health Week, 13-19 June 2011, GPs are encouraged to remind their
patients to look after their eye health and have regular sight tests. Many people think they only need a
sight test if they are having difficulty seeing or their eyes hurt. But a lot of eye conditions have no
symptoms in the early stages of disease and many – such as age-related macular degeneration,
glaucoma and cataracts – are still responsible for sight loss in the UK, even though they can be treated if
detected early enough. Sight tests are not only vital for diagnosing vision problems; they may also detect
symptoms of other health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure; prevent injuries, such
as falls; and, in the long term, reduce costs to the NHS. Posters and leaflets are available for display in
GP practices.

      Download the resources and find out how you can support the campaign
      Email Vision Matters for more information


Heatwave Plan 2011

The DH reissued the Heatwave Plan for England on 26 May 2011 to raise professional and public
awareness and enhance resilience in the event of a heatwave. It is an important component of overall
emergency planning and will become increasingly relevant in adapting to the impact of climate change. A
copy of the plan, the accompanying fact sheets for staff and a public information leaflet are available on
the DH website.
     Download the Heatwave Plan and resources


Updated guidance on common surgical procedures

The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) has added to its Get Well Soon series of online
guidance for patients by publishing information on an extra nine surgical procedures, including
mastectomy, total hip replacement and wisdom tooth extraction. The series helps patients understand

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the surgical procedure they are facing, as well as the needs they will have afterwards, and provides
practical tips and advice on managing their return to fitness and work. Guidance is also available from
the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) on recovery following gynaecological
surgery, including return to work.

      Access and print the guidance from the RCS website
      Access the RCOG guidance


Patient information on pleural plaques

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) has published a patient leaflet on pleural plaques. It explains in
simple terms what they are and reassures patients that they are harmless in the vast majority of cases;
they are not the precursors of more serious diseases, such as lung cancer or mesothelioma; and people
should not seek an X-ray or CT scan to find out whether or not they have plaques. It complements the
leaflet published for health professionals by the British Thoracic Society (BTS) in February, which
conveys the same messages with additional clinical detail. The aim of both leaflets is to help GPs and
practice staff advise people who have been exposed to asbestos and are worried they have developed
pleural plaques.

      Download, or request hard copies of, the BLF leaflet for patients
      Download copies of the BTS leaflet for health professionals


Updated information on NHS dental services for 2010/11

GP practices are asked to direct patients to the updated leaflet and poster on NHS dental services in
England. The leaflet contains information on how to find an NHS dentist, the services dentists provide,
dental charges and how to find out if patients are eligible for help with costs.

      Download copies of the leaflet and poster from the DH website


Lyme disease reminder

As the warmer weather draws people outdoors, GPs are reminded to consider Lyme disease if a patient
has had a tick bite or has the characteristic pink/red spreading rash (erythema migrans). Patients should
be treated with a short course of antibiotics on typical clinical diagnosis or after serological confirmation.
Diagnostic tests are available from NHS laboratories and the Health Protection Agency’s (HPA) Lyme
Borreliosis Specialist Reference Unit, which also provides specialist advice.

      Find out more on the HPA website


Blue Badge Scheme: correction

In the April issue of the GP Bulletin, we incorrectly stated that GPs should no longer be approached or
accept responsibility to undertake eligibility assessments for the Blue Badge (Disabled Parking) Scheme.



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We apologise for this and, on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT), would like to clarify that local
authorities can still ask GPs to carry out these eligibility assessments. However, changes to the
legislation will come into effect in 2012, requiring local authorities to use mobility assessments that are
undertaken by professionals who are independent of an applicant’s care and treatment to determine
eligibility when it is in doubt. A further update will be provided closer to the time but, irrespective of this
change, GPs may still be asked by local authorities to provide factual information about an applicant’s
treatment or condition.

      Read more about changes to the Blue Badge Scheme


Reminder: safeguarding responsibilities continue until legislative change

The Coalition Government has published its Vetting and Barring Scheme Review, but until new
legislation to implement the changes is introduced, practice managers – or those who have responsibility
for the recruitment and management of regulated activity, paid or unpaid – are reminded that the current
safeguarding responsibilities remain. This includes the legal duty to inform the Independent
Safeguarding Authority (ISA) if your organisation dismisses or removes a member of staff/volunteer from
working with children and/or vulnerable adults – in what is legally defined as regulated activity – because
they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult.

      Read the Government’s policy on safeguarding vulnerable adults on the DH website
      Find out more on the ISA website




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