MESSAGE FROM DR NICOLA JONES: Latest coronavirus information

Update from Dr Nicola Jones,
Chair of the South West London Primary Care Cell

5th May 2020

Primary and community support for care home residents

NHS England and NHS Improvement have published a letter outlining primary care and community health support for care home residents. This letter follows Simon Stevens’ and Amanda Pritchard’s letter about the Second Phase of the NHS Response to COVID-19 which also referenced the additional support needed for care homes, given the significant challenges COVID-19 is posing for care homes.

  • The measures in the letter include:
    • Delivery of a consistent, weekly ‘check in’, to review patients identified as a clinical priority for assessment and care. This would be delivered primarily remotely wherever appropriate.
    • Development and delivery of personalised care and support plans for care home residents.
  • The letter is based on a network approach to delivery, stating that “it will be less burdensome for general practice, easier for community partners and better for care homes for this to be delivered at a PCN level as the default”.
  • In terms of timescales, the letter states that “this model should be established as soon as possible, and within a fortnight at the latest in order to support residents as quickly as possible”.

We understand that implementing the measures on this timescale will be challenging for PCNs and practices. We will very shortly be issuing further information about what this will mean for PCNs and practices in South West London and what support we can provide, building upon excellent services that are already being provided for these patients by general practice and community services.

Care home resource pack  

Please find attached a London care home resource pack, which is updated from the previous version published in April. This is mainly aimed at care homes but may also be useful in general practice for the treatment of care home residents.

Referral and management of cancer

The attached update provides an updated summary of the latest NHS England London region guidance on the referral and management of cancer during COVID-19, covering updated guidance and actions for the COVID-19 Lower GI 2WW Referral Pathway and the COVID-19 Breast Cancer Pathway.

GP Connect

Until SWL set-up guidance for the mandated use of GP Connect Booking is sent out, please do not attempt to set up GP Connect Booking unless you are part of the pilot being run by IT facilitators. Without the correct set-up, which will require the SWL guidance, it will either not work at all or not work as expected. Please do not use any of the 9 sets of EMIS guidance which have been sent out, as the local parameters to make this work will not be set.  Full instructions will be sent out shortly.

8th May Bank Holiday

Thank you to all practices who have notified the team of planned working arrangements for the day through the online form that we circulated.

A reminder that we recommend practices text their patients to let them know they can access services on the day and as a general reminder that they should get in touch if they need advice. We have ensured that practices have enough credits for a max 320 character (including spaces) text to adult patients. Below is an example text message which could be amended if you are using a PCN approach:

Your practice is here for you. If you have a concern about your health, don’t leave it too long before you ask for advice. Please use online booking, visit the practice website or call the practice if you need us. We are open as usual on Bank Holiday Friday. Please contact us before coming to the practice.

Priority medicines for palliative and end of life care during a pandemic

The Association of Palliative Medicine, Royal College of GPs, Hospice UK and the Association of Supportive and Palliative Care Pharmacy, working with NHS England and NHS Improvement, have published Priority medicines for palliative and end of life care during a pandemic.  

This guidance is intended to help manage additional demand for end of life medicines and ensure safe, equitable and compassionate care for patients. It gives examples of alternatives to common EOLC drugs, which is helpful given intermittent supply problems with these medicines.

National primary care bulletins

A reminder that national primary care bulletins from Dr Nikki Kanani and Ed Waller are being published every day and include details on weekly primary care webinars which are taking place every Thursday from 5pm. You can find the bulletins here but please also ensure that you sign up to receive them in your inbox. We are passing on important national information to you through the SWL team as it arrives with us but this ensures you receive it directly.

SW London Gold Briefing

Please find attached today’s Gold Briefing, which captures progress and updates from the SW London COVID-19 cells.


  1. GOLD Update 05/05/2020
  2. Care Home Resource Pack
  3. COIVD19 Cancer All GP Comms.

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