GPs and specialists will have to ‘clinically review’ each and every application for a Covid vaccination exemption, the Government has said.
As it stands, the NHS Covid Pass is required on a voluntary basis by certain venues, but under the Government’s ‘plan B’ winter plan their usage would become even more widespread.
New guidance published today also said medically exempt patients who successfully apply would receive their Covid Pass within 2-3 weeks.
Under the guidance, patients who wish to apply for a medical exemption should phone 119 to request an application form, specifying the name of their ‘GP and/or specialist clinician’.
Following completion of the form, they must then pass it onto the named healthcare professional to be ‘clinically reviewed’.
‘Your GP, specialist or midwife may ask to speak with you if needed, but you won’t need to book this when you submit your application,’ the guidance added.
Patients should not contact their GP or the clinician reviewing their exemption unless asked to do so, the guidance added.
And it said that patients will receive the results by post ‘two to three weeks after applying’.
Pulse has asked the DHSC for guidance aimed at GPs regarding the process, including any deadlines for processing forms and returning them to the NHS Covid Pass service.
The Government instructed patients not to contact their GP to obtain the application form, while practices should direct any enquiries to the 119 phone service.
A GP or specialist’s clinical decision on medical exemptions is ‘final’ and cannot be appealed by patients, it added.
The guidance said reasons for medical exemptions are ‘limited’ but could be given in scenarios such as when someone has had an adverse reaction to the first vaccine dose, such as myocarditis.
Other ‘possible reasons’ include:
- When someone has ‘severe allergies’ to all currently available vaccines
- When vaccination is not in the ‘best interests’ of someone receiving end of life care
- When someone has learning disabilities or autism or has a ‘combination of impairments where vaccination cannot be provided through reasonable adjustments’
‘Other medical conditions could also allow you to get a medical exemption’, the guidance said.
It added that short-term exemptions will be available for those with short-term conditions and for pregnant women until 16 weeks post-partum.
Pregnant women who choose to use a short-term medical exemption can alternatively use MAT B1 certificates to prove their Covid status rather than applying for a medical exemption NHS Covid Pass, it said.
Businesses can continue to accept people who self-declare that they are medically exempt until mid-December 2021. People then ‘have to use the NHS Covid Pass to gain entry in the same way that people who are fully vaccinated do’, the guidance added.
The proposal would see the public required to present an NHS Covid Pass in certain scenarios and settings, including nightclubs, large indoor events and large and crowded outdoor events.
The NHS Covid Pass system will also roll out to care home workers, after a 12-week grace period during which they will be able to self-certify their medical exemption.