GPs should continue delivering services ‘as normal’ while a review into guidance on how to prioritise Covid vaccinations and manage pressures is ongoing, NHS England has said.
Practices will receive an update ‘this week’ on how they can prioritise activity to mitigate the ‘multiple pressures’ they are facing.
Last week, NHS England pledged to ‘remove unnecessary contractual burdens’ in a bid to free up time for practices to focus on Covid vaccinations.
And a slide presented at NHS England’s latest GP webinar on Tuesday evening promised GPs an update will be imminent.
It said: ‘Primary care services should continue as normal, although we are also currently reviewing guidance and contracts to support prioritisation of activity in primary care, given the multiple pressures, and will share an update this week.’
‘Some regions have already begun to set out reprioritisation in their areas’, it added.
Pulse revealed yesterday that GPs in London have been asked to ‘stand down’ routine work over the next two weeks and ‘focus on urgent care’, including support for care homes.
Meanwhile, NHS England told GPs it would ‘provide further advice about additional measures to ensure GP practices and PCNs are able to prioritise the vaccination programme appropriately, including removing unnecessary contractual burdens’.
GP leaders said that while lots of unnecessary activity has already been reduced, there is a ‘raft of things’ NHS England could still do to give GPs ‘breathing space’.
Previously, NHS England said practices would need to ‘focus efforts’ on effective vaccine delivery, with vaccinations taking the ‘top priority’.
And the BMA also advised practices to ‘re-prioritise’ and postpone routine activities such as ‘non-essential health checks and reviews’ to make way for the vaccination programme last month.
It comes as Public Health England (PHE) has said GPs should consider catch-up plans for children who have missed immunisations due to the pandemic.