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Newsletter - East Antrim GP Federation

A Note From the Chair - Dr Ian Lalsingh

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to our East Antrim Federation Newsletter! 🙂

This is something of a reboot, having only produced a couple of newsletters several years BC (before covid!). Thanks to your suggestions and feedback, we decided this would be something worthwhile. It is working well in other Federation areas and will help to keep practices informed and up-to-date on current activity within our Federation.

Via the newsletter, we plan to give regular up-dates on

  • Federation Elective Care

  • General Practice Pharmacy

  • Federation Education

  • Collaboration/challenges with the trust(s)

  • Current/Future projects

Thus, I am delighted to inform you that we finally have confirmation from SPPG that funding for our EA Fed/NRC primary care administrator course has been secured. You can look forward to some promotional videos, I encourage you to share widely on social media when available 👏🏼

Also of note, we have another Northern Federation Support Unit Strategy day on 1st June. This will focus on quick wins for Federations in the north. I am very keen that we not only increase the number of attendees for our strategy days but continue to welcome staff at all levels within general practice – this is not exclusive to GPs: reception/admin staff, nurses, GPPs, practice managers, all are welcome if interested. You will find that it is time well spent – everyone is equal – your opinion counts. The strategy days are informative, positive, productive, and fun. Please contact me if you would like to join us.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage feedback from all practice members, the more input we have from members and those willing to help implement change, the more effective our Federation will be in supporting and enabling better general practice in East Antrim.

Please do not hesitate to contact me (or through Julie/NFSU or the practice managers group). Now more than ever we need to support each other.

Thank you,



Federation Education

Dr Richard McClean, Dr Aine McNeill, Shauna McKinley & Janice Russell Federation Education Team.

FedED Trainee/Trainer Sessions

Our recent FedED trainee trainer session which was on 19th April. Thank you to Notting Hill GP Practice and Dr Burrows who hosted this event. The topic covered in this event was:

“The assessment and management of iron deficiency anaemia in Primary Care.”

The next FedED trainee/trainee session is on

📅26th July in Meadowbridge Surgery

and is going to be on “The assessment and management of back pain in Primary Care”. This event is open to all East Antrim trainers/GP trainees of any grade (Hospital based ST1 trainees included). Lunch is 1.30pm and session runs from 2-4pm. Encourage folk to come with any interesting or challenging cases.

This session will complete the first cycle of FedED GP Trainer/Trainee sessions and we’ll have had 4 sessions covering.

✅The management of Thyroid Disorders/Abnormal Biochem Lab results

✅A primary care approach to HRT/Menopause

✅The assessment and management of iron deficiency anaemia in Primary Care

✅The assessment and management of back pain in Primary Care

The sessions have received positive feedback and we’re keen to engage more practices in potentially hosting a session during the next cycle 👏🏼🎓

The next PBL date is 14th June with speakers confirmed as

🧑🏼‍⚕️ Dr.Daniel Soutar, Consultant in Palliative Care from Antrim Hospital.

We’re also going to have an update from the team involved in the new, Whiteabbey based, “Vague Symptoms Pathway” between the clinical sessions.

The two practice managers Shauna and Janice will be able to provide more details on the non-clinical topics for the PBL.

NB Medical Hot Topics

East Antrim GP Federation is delighted again to be working with NB Medical Hot Topics and will be providing you with a Hot Topics GP Update course webinar on

This course is open to GPs, GP Trainees, Practice Pharmacists and Practice Nurses/Nurse

Practitioners who are East Antrim GP Federation members only.

📅 Wednesday 20th September 1.30pm – 5pm 📅

This course is being fully funded by the East Antrim GP Federation.

Reserve your place:

To book your place on the course please go to the following link and enter the access code provided below. Or contact NB Medical on 0191 5197293/4 quoting the access code.

Please save this date and don’t forget to register your place.


Joint Northern Federation GPP training was held in Tullyglass on 18th May 2023 – GPPs benefitted from joint training with peers on Chronic Kidney Disease with Dr. Bob Mullan and Heart Failure with Dr. Karen Darragh. An overview of both conditions was given in addition to training on how GPPs can contribute to optimising disease management and how to record data for QoF indicators.

Resilience Training is planned for the team on 15th June 2023, delivered by John Mackle from QUB Leadership Centre. This is to help promote improved mental wellbeing in the workplace.

Congratulations to 2 GPPs from our team, Mark and Ciara Briers who tied the knot on 13th April 2023.

Congratulations to Michael Ervine, Colm Kerr, Cathleen Hanna and Gemma McDyre who have successfully completed the NICPLD Foundation Programme.

NI Federation GPP Recognising Achievement Award 2023 is currently open for submission, if any GPPs have any project work to submit we would encourage doing so, the closing date is 14th August 2023.

Future dates for the GPP team;

CPR training 19th September 2023 at 9:30am until 1:30pm.


NFSU - Federation Support Unit - Project Coordinator Update

All Practice Staff within EA Fed,

There has been a lot of project work taking place within EA Federation which is great. Thank you for liaising with us in relation to further project ideas. Currently we are liaising with Carol Andrews, Janice Russell, Shauna McKinley & Dr Lalsingh with taking these ideas forward and making them happen.

You will find out more about these new initiatives at the EA Practice Managers Forum Meetings and we welcome your thoughts surrounding the agreed agenda items. Julie and I from NFSU are looking forward to attending the next meeting on Wed 28 June.

Recently we have researched and circulated information in relation Blue Light Card for all practice staff and agreed a joint Accurx contract for EMIS practices which resulted in a £4K cost saving.

Primary Care Admin Course

Another significant project I have been working on as requested by EA Fed was establishing and developing a partnership with NRC to deliver a “Primary Care Admin Course” commencing in Sept 23 in partnership with Northern Regional College. We are delighted to say that the funding for this has been approved by SPPG (the cost of the course and the payment for the student whilst on placement) and we are now at the stage of finalising the finer details of rolling this out.

12 of the 17 practices within EA Fed had indicated that they would be interested in hosting a placement student back in January 23 when a survey was circulated, therefore more information will be shared with these practices and there will be the opportunity for some practices to avail of 2 placement students.

To date there has been a lot of interest in this new course and in Aug 23 we will be involved in the final promotion stage (watch out for our promotional clip that we had produced on our social media platforms as you will see many familiar faces). Sincere thank you to all those who have actively assisted with this to get this initiative to this stage. We will help each of the host practices to help us ensure that this is a success so that SPPG may consider funding similar initiatives in the future.

This is an example of a project which originated from 2 Practice Managers within EA Fed.

Another project I had started to research / explore was the “scanning of historic paper-based patient charts”. Initial research has suggested that there will be significant work involved with this. In advance of the next Practice Managers Forum on 28 June could I ask each Practice Manager if they could find out how many charts they currently have that need scanned, and advise me of where the charts are stored etc. Please note that this project would not include the summarising of the charts. Gaining this information from each of you would be extremely helpful.

I have been working closely with the Practice Improvement and Crisis Response Team (PICRT), and Paula has kindly agreed to host a brief “Best Practice Suggestion” session (probably online) for practices if there was interest in something like this. This would look at different initiatives’ practices may wish to consider to improve processes with practices etc. Please let me know at the Practice Managers Forum if this is something you may be interested in?

Lastly, just to let each of you know that I will be going off on maternity leave around the middle of August and during this period I am off, my colleague Rachael at NFSU will be covering many of the aspects I have been involved in under the guidance of Julie and will continue to push forward with these.

Yours Sincerely,


(Project Coordinator)

Tel: 028 9620 8333 | Mob: 07799249892


Bespoke, engaging courses designed specifically for GP practice staff, delivered by expert trainers.

As all Practice Managers will be aware, the Federation have purchased a 3-year licence for each of our 73 GP Practices to have access to Practice Index Training for you & all your staff within your Practice. You should all have received a log in by this stage to access the portal. Practice Index Training - A modern approach to Primary Care training - Practice Index Training

✅ Active Signposting

✅Chaperones in General Practice

✅Complaint Management


✅ Correspondence Management


✅Dealing with Abusive, Aggressive and Violent Patients

✅Effective Recruitment

✅Having Difficult Conversations

✅Improving Communication (Staff and Patients)

✅Leadership in Primary Care

✅Receptionists in Primary Care

✅Understanding Medical Terminology

✅Telephone Triage for Receptionists

and 100s more exciting courses for your staff which you can see here -

Download PDF • 770KB

If you can’t find what you are looking for? – they will create it for you!


Practice Managers also have access to Holiday Manager.

Staff can request leave online, meaning the days of bits of paper floating around your office are long gone. Then, with an instant check to see who else is off, simply click and you’re done – you’ve approved the annual leave! What’s not to love?

Holiday Manager handles new starter and leaver calculations with ease. It can make instant calculations for part-time workers, calculate (and automatically deduct) bank holidays, and enables holiday to be calculated in either hours or sessions depending on the staff member.

Simply add start or finish dates for each member of staff, any contractual terms and away you go! It really is that simple. Where you’re happy to do so, at the end of each year, you can carry over any unused annual leave with one click. The benefits don’t stop there; Holiday Manager reminds staff that they need to take annual leave and provides you with a list of staff who have high levels of unbooked leave. It also gives you an overview of who is off in the next 30 days, along with any leave requests you have pending.

Holiday Manager also helps you to manage other types of absence, and can even calculate the Bradford Factor to support you in managing sickness absence.


General Practice Elective Care Services

Across the region, General Practice Elective Care Services continue to grow and excel.

Eastern FSU Elective Care Team have recently collated data and feedback across Northern Ireland which show how valuable the service is to patients.

A note from the Regional Clinical Lead Dr Siobhan McEntee:

“It has been over 4 years since Elective Care was first commissioned and now over 51,000 patients have been seen through the service. I would like to thank all the amazing team who make this possible; the GPES doctors and Leads, the Nurses, HCAs and all the staff in the Practice Teams who contribute so much to keeping this service running smoothly. Delivering a high standard of patient care is always your first priority and I think this feedback reflects the patients appreciation of the fabulous work you do.”

Dr Siobhan McEntee

To view updated waiting times/contact information please visit our website at


RCGPNI have launched their GP and Practice of the Year Awards. General practice is facing huge challenges, but every day amazing care takes place.

Take a few minutes to nominate your GP or GP practice team. All the information you need is here:


East Antrim Federation Executive team wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you for the incredible work you do every day to ensure that patients receive the best possible care. Your dedication, hard work, and compassion are truly inspiring.

As we collaborate together to make primary care the best it can be, we are constantly reminded of the amazing impact we can have on people's lives. Whether it's through preventative care, patient education, or simply being there to listen, your efforts are making a real difference.

So once again, thank you for all that you do. Your commitment to primary care is changing lives for the better, and we are grateful to be working alongside you.


If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions for the East Antrim Federation please contact NFSU on

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