GMS contract revision bans use of premium rate numbers
GP practices will no longer be able to use premium rate numbers, following changes to the GMS contract by the DH.
The changes to the GMS contract, which came into effect on 1 April, mean that GPs using telephone numbers that cost more to call than a geographical number must change their arrangements.
Campaigner David Hickson said this would mean that the GPs who use 0844 numbers provided by Talk Talk will have to arrange migration to an alternative number, such as an 0344 number.
- Source: Healthcare Republic
New insulin guidance seeks to reduce wrong doses
I would encourage anyone working in this area to read the NPSA guidance carefully
The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) has issued a Rapid Response Report to reduce the risk of error when administering insulin.
The safety alert was issued after the NPSA identified two common errors involving the administration of insulin. These were the use of:
- Intravenous syringes – marked in millilitres and not in insulin units.
- Abbreviations – such as “U” or “IU” for units, which can be misread and lead to administering the wrong dose.
The report was produced in response to 3,881 patient safety incidents reported between 2004 and 2009 across England and Wales. These included one death and one case of severe harm that occurred after clinicians misinterpreted the abbreviation of the term “unit”.
A further three deaths and 17 other incidents occurred between January 2005 and July 2009 where an intravenous syringe was used to measure and administer insulin.
The guidance states that all NHS and independent healthcare organisations should ensure that:
- All regular and single insulin (bolus) doses are measured and administered using an insulin syringe or commercial insulin pen device, not an intravenous syringe.
- Abbreviations are never used; instead, “units” should be written in full.
- All treatment areas must have adequate supplies of insulin syringes and subcutaneous needles, which are easily accessible to medical staff.
- Insulin syringes must always be used to measure and prepare insulin for an intravenous infusion.
- There is a system of training in place for all healthcare staff that may need to prescribe, prepare and administer insulin.
The NPSA also recommends that the systems in all clinical areas where insulin is prepared or administered be regularly reviewed, to ensure they do not pose a risk to patient safety.
Dr Rowan Hillson MBE, National Clinical Director for Diabetes at the Department of Health, said: “Diabetes is a growing problem. Insulin is a life-saving drug that keeps people with diabetes well. It is really important that all health professionals who care for people with diabetes are aware of how to use insulin safely. I would encourage anyone working in this area to read the NPSA guidance carefully and ensure they complete the e-learning module on the NHS Diabetes website.”
GP receptionists trained to give basic advice
NHS Hull has developed a scheme for GP receptionists to train to give basic medical advice for minor ailments.
Under the scheme, receptionists have to answer basic queries about prescription items needed for conditions such as diabetes and asthma.
The “Medicines management” training course, which is accredited by the Open College Network (OCN), also gives training on the prescription process, how to reduce medicine wastage and where patients can go to get extra help.
Staff are given two years to complete the course, which includes four sections – background to medicines and prescribing, community pharmacy services, pharmacy care scheme, which is also known as the minor ailments service, and appliances, devices and food supplements.
Receptionist Sarah Scott, 39, from the Newland Group Medical Practice, in west Hull, has completed the training scheme. She said: “It gave me more of an insight into what services are offered and when we can direct patients there. We have a list of conditions that are treatable under the minor ailments scheme, so it’s better for us and better for the patients.”
- Source: This is Hull and East Riding
GMC publishes guidance on end of life care
New guidance published by the GMC encourages doctors to discuss ahead of time what care patients want towards the end of their life.
The guidance, Treatment and Care Towards the End of Life: Good Practice in Decision Making, which came into effect on 1 July, advises doctors on how to manage advance requests and what to do when a patient refuses treatment.
It states that doctors must always presume that the patient wants to prolong their life – however, the views of the patient must be prioritised and doctors must always act in their patients’ best interests.
It is the first time that guidance has been published regarding how doctors should respond to an advance request for end of life treatment.
In your practice
Support Tommy’s health awareness campaign “Let’s Talk Baby” from 1 to 30 September. The aim of the campaign is to help women navigate through the maze of pregnancy information by making impartial, expert pregnancy information available to all. The campaign team can provide you with materials, such as posters, pregnancy guides, balloons, T-shirts, etc, to set up a drop-in event for mums-to-be or new mums and their partners.
‘Gut’ involved in Gut Week 23-29 August. Since it started in 1999, the campaign has helped more than 350 million people take steps to improve their digestive health. Gut Week packs can be downloaded from the website – they contain booklets full of healthy tips and advice. To set up a display in your practice, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and label your email “Gut Week Display”.
The National Prescribing Centre (NPC) has published new guidance on delegating the mixing of medicines to other members of the healthcare team. The guidance, Mixing of Medicines Prior to Administration in Clinical Practice, follows a change in the law, which says that nurses, midwives and pharmacist independent prescribers can mix medicines and administer them to patients. Previously, only doctors and dentists (or pharmacists working under the direction of a doctor or dentist) could mix and administer the medicine.
The NHS has developed a new online resource and various charities to help GPs and healthcare professionals find tailored information to give patients about their treatment. The Information Prescriptions Service (IPS) also provides a dispensing history that shows what information has been given to patients. There is also an option to add personal notes to the patient, highlighting key facts and summarising the consultation.