GPs will be incentivised to deliver ‘accelerated’ autumn Covid boosters in care homes, with payments of up to £525 per completed care home.
The autumn programme is due to start from next week, but GPs have now been asked to complete care home vaccinations by 23 October where possible.
An NHS England GP webinar yesterday announced that it would be ‘incentivising accelerated Covid-19 vaccinations’ in both older adult and non-older adult care homes.
A slide presented at the webinar said: ‘An outcomes-based incentive will be made available to any commissioned provider who completes the vaccination of all residents in a care home by 23 October 2022 as part of the Covid autumn vaccination programme.’
It added that ‘completed’ care homes are those where ‘the maximum number of eligible residents have been vaccinated’ and that the incentive will be ‘payable for each individual care home completed’ by the deadline.
GP-led vaccination teams will receive:
- £150 for each ‘small care home’ of 1-10 residents
- £275 for each ‘medium care home’ of 11-49 residents
- £400 for each ‘large care home’ of 50-149 residents
- £525 for each ‘very large care home of 150-250 residents
Teams will need to complete a ‘short live-time survey return’ to claim the payment, NHS England said.
It added that the enhanced service specification will be updated ‘shortly’ to incorporate the new care homes payments scheme.
However, the slide said: ‘The existing provision will remain that providers should make arrangements to vaccinate care home residents within 10 weeks of the start of the programme (from 12 September), or as soon as reasonably possible.’
It added that St John Ambulance volunteers are still available to support care home vaccinations and that there is also ‘additional workforce available through the lead employer including registered healthcare professionals, unregistered vaccinators and administrators’.
‘This workforce will be trained and competent in the delivery of Covid-19 and flu vaccination to support co-administration wherever operationally possible,’ it said.
It comes as NHS England announced that those with learning disabilities will also be eligible for autumn Covid boosters.
In a bulletin sent to practices yesterday, NHS England said: ‘People aged five and over on the GP learning disability register are eligible for the Covid-19 autumn booster vaccine following updated Green Book guidance.
‘Please offer the Covid-19 autumn booster vaccination to everyone on the GP learning disability register and their carers.’
A slide presented at last night’s webinar added that ‘consideration should be given’ to making accessible information available, using specialist vaccinators, administering Covid and flu jabs together ‘where possible’ and making ‘reasonable adjustments required to ensure a positive outcome’.
Last month, GPs were told to start delivering the autumn Covid booster campaign from 5 September, with patients set to receive Moderna’s new Omicron booster jab.
NHS England said that visits to care homes must begin from the week commencing 5 September with a ‘formal launch of the winter/autumn campaign on 12 September’ – starting with the over-75s and healthcare workers.
It said at the time that all eligible groups should be offered vaccination ‘by the start of December’ but that it was looking at ‘options to support providers in prioritising the completion of vaccinations in care homes as early as possible’.
Covid booster vaccines will be extended to people aged 50 and over this autumn alongside other at-risk groups, following a final recommendation from the JCVI in July.