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Police and fire services to support GP Covid booster push


police join vaccination


Fire and rescue and police forces will be among the extra workforce stood up to support GPs to deliver the accelerated Covid booster programme, NHS England has revealed.

In an operational letter sent to GPs last night, NHS England set out details of the support it is offering to GP-led vaccination sites announced in a webinar attended by Pulse yesterday afternoon.

NHS England said that guidance around what services GPs should provide would be issued by the BMA and RCGP imminently.

It reiterated that ‘all NHS providers need to be prepared to redeploy staff to support the vaccination effort’ and said they must share their workforce availability with their ICS-level lead employer.

The letter stated:

  • Organisations designated as ‘lead employers’ by integrated care systems – who are normally hospitals – will be given ‘up to three military personnel’.
  • The military personnel will support the lead employers in the implementation of a ‘push of workforce out to systems, rather than a traditional demand-led approach’.
  • ‘Wider public sector organisations, including local authorities, fire and rescue and police forces are also asked to identify and release any staff members who are trained vaccinators. 
  • Alongside this, NHS Professionals and St John Ambulance will continue to accelerate recruitment and re-engagement. St John Ambulance staff will support housebound and care home vaccination.
  • The civil service has also started ‘a push of people to register with St John Ambulance, NHS Professionals and the Royal Voluntary Service as appropriate’.

The letter added that ICSs must increase their training capacity ‘with immediate effect’ to ensure the additional workforce are ‘safe and competent’.

It reiterated that there are ‘no supply challenges’ with booster stocks and added that vaccine supply will be sent to sites from today.

It said: ‘This approach will ensure more than 8.9 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna will be available across the network (3.2 million already on site; 2.1 million in immform; 3.6 million planned (minimum additional supply).’

It added: ‘For PCN and [community pharmacy-led local vaccination sites], regional teams have been asked to provide details for sites that require additional deliveries on Thursday and Friday this week.

‘All sites expecting a delivery on Tuesday can expect their volume doubled, for some sites this will arrive on Tuesday, for others an additional delivery day will be allocated later this week.’

The letter also said that further details on financial support available to vaccination sites, including for ‘contracting, estates and consumables’, will ‘shortly be shared with regional directors of finance and directors of finance for local authorities’.

It added that the current spending cap for booster programme costs has been ‘removed’ so resources can be distributed ‘with immediate effect’.

NHS England revealed yesterday that GP vaccination teams will be expected to deliver vaccination 12 hours a day seven days a week ‘as standard’.

But it said that they will be ‘compensated appropriately’ for delivering Covid booster jabs through the Christmas bank holidays and that details would follow as soon as this week.

NHS England also said that it will ‘back’ GPs to ‘make the clinical decisions that [they] need to’, after they were asked to ‘clinically prioritise’ Covid booster jabs over routine care.

Meanwhile, UK chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said during the same briefing that the requirement for patients to stay behind for a 15-minute observation period after their Pfizer or Moderna Covid vaccination could be scrapped in the ‘next few days’.

And the CQC has said that unannounced inspections of GP practices focused on patient access will be postponed for the next three weeks until January 2022.

READERS' COMMENTS [3]

David Church 14 December, 2021 12:36 pm

What spare Police and Fire Services???
Police staff are reducing by isolation/illness.

Will retained firefighters be pulled out of the usual workplace, including fields. factories, hospitals, GP surgeries, in the middle of a medical procedure, to go to vaccination centres for 4 hours??

Who thought up that non-starter?

Patrufini Duffy 14 December, 2021 1:06 pm

Police and fire services must do their job. There’s enough other dodgy stuff in UK society that needs curtailing, like fining people on transport, but probably a nice relief though from the house call for a punch up.

Kevlar Cardie 14 December, 2021 2:33 pm

‘Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello.