GPs ask what work should stop to deliver coronavirus vaccine programme

GPs in England have said they need to know which work they should stop in order to deliver the coronavirus vaccine programme.

Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said existing pressures meant family doctors will need help from colleagues in hospitals.

NHS England has told England’s 1,250 primary care networks to designate a single practice to administer vaccines in their area capable of delivering vaccines from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, including on bank holidays if needed.

Prof Marshall said surgeries are experienced at successfully delivering mass vaccination programmes, but that the new scheme would be an “enormous challenge”.

He said: “The workload and resource pressures that were facing general practice before the pandemic still exist and they need to be addressed.

“GPs and our teams won’t be able to deliver this programme alone.

“We will need the support of other healthcare professionals in the community, and potentially from secondary care colleagues, such as those delivering outpatient services.

“More consultations are also being made in general practice than before the pandemic, we are preparing for usual winter pressures and delivering the expanded flu vaccination programme, so we also need clarity on what work we should stop doing in order to create capacity to deliver the Covid vaccination programme.”

Dedicated GP clinics being set up to deliver coronavirus vaccines across England will need to have fridge space available by December 1 and the capacity to administer at least 975 doses per week each, according to new documents.

Practices will receive a £12.58 payment for each dose of a coronavirus vaccine, meaning they will receive £25.16 for each patient vaccinated in a two-dose course, the documents show.

Patients will also need to be observed for 15 minutes after the vaccination is administered, while annual flu jabs and Covid-19 vaccinations must be given at least a week apart.

The documents said appointments can be managed through a national booking system.

They said: “Once patients are notified by the national call/recall service they are eligible for a vaccination, they would have the choice to book an appointment at a general practice-led vaccination centre or use the national booking service to be vaccinated by another provider.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Tuesday he expects GPs to play a big role in administering any coronavirus jab.

Pharmacists and dedicated clinics set up in places such as sports halls are also likely to be used.

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