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GPs will be asked to ‘clinically review’ Covid Pass exemption applications

GPs will be asked to ‘clinically review’  Covid Pass exemption applications

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 DHSC this week set out a proposal for wider mandatory Covid certification for members of the public if ‘plan B’ of its winter plan is actioned.

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.


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Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 1 October, 2021 5:08 pm

Cutting bureaucracy “steering group”. Lost its wheel. Blood from a stone.

Dr N 1 October, 2021 5:16 pm

Why isn’t fibromylgia, heavy periods and hair loss on the list?

Reply moderated
Nigel Clark 1 October, 2021 5:35 pm

Why are some pregnant women to be excused from being protected by full vaccination? On what medical grounds can that in itself be acceptable? Pregnant women and their unborn child or children, have the most to gain from being vaccinated, and thereby reducing their risk of dying due to Covid. Don’t legitimise their stupidity in not wishing to be vaccinated by allowing them this medical exemption.
Am I missing something here?!

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David jenkins 1 October, 2021 5:42 pm

there are a set number of woprking hours in the day, and a set number of gp’s. if you take ANY of the gp’s away from surgeries to deal with this extra administrative burden, there will be FEWER gp’s dealing with patients.

dhsc, or whoever, need to make a decision – do they want us gp’s to see more patients, or fewer.

they then need to explain to joe public why THEIR increased access programme has hit the buffers !

sorry – not our problem.

we go home at 18.30hrs. no extra monee – no extra workee !!

Reply moderated
terry sullivan 1 October, 2021 7:37 pm


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Mr Marvellous 1 October, 2021 8:12 pm

This doesn’t appear to be in the GMS contract.

What are the funding arrangements for this?

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John Clements 1 October, 2021 11:24 pm

More than happy to do this. But the patients I can’t see that day as I complete these exemption forms will be sent to A&E. I’m sure the BMA and RCGP will support me.

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David Church 2 October, 2021 12:27 pm

That’s fine – there is a fee for it – which we can set ourselves, as we are not allowed to discuss amongst ourselves the setting of a fee, it will probably vary between a lot and much more, but every GP will get what they set – or won’t do the work, bearing in mind our decision is final, and consultants will obviously charge a higher fee.

Reply moderated
Peter Pulse GP Jobs User 3 October, 2021 7:52 pm

Why on earth are we (potentially) saddling Midwives with this? Looking at the exemptions listed how can they possibly be the appropriate professional to make this decision?

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Patrufini Duffy 4 October, 2021 9:24 pm

Whilst dentists do more private work…

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David Jarvis 6 October, 2021 9:15 am

In my brief review I can find no reason for exemption that I feel confident in signing. As a stamp. And my brief review will be attaching said stamp.

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James Weems 6 October, 2021 11:13 pm

Ok. Waiting to see the NES for this. Easy enough. Only one reason you can’t have the vaccine and that’s allergy. Easy enough.

Reply moderated