The Government has ‘accepted’ that any vaccine certification should have ‘minimal impact’ on GPs, according to the BMA.
In its latest bulletin, the BMA’s GP Committee said it has been in discussions with the Government around the proposals, following confirmation that a certification system will be developed over the coming months.
The system, which could allow ‘higher-risk settings’ to be opened up more quickly and safely, will consider vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity on the basis of a positive test in the previous six months, the GPC said.
Initial pilots trialling the system through testing alone will take place from mid-April, while later pilots will also include vaccination and ‘acquired immunity’, it added.
The bulletin said: ‘GPC has been discussing these proposals with the Government and NHS bodies to ensure there would be a minimal impact on GP practices, and this has been accepted.
‘We need to avoid the expectation that people can secure evidence of vaccination or testing by obtaining a letter from their GP practice.’
Earlier this month, the RCGP warned that GPs should have no involvement in any proposed Covid-19 ‘vaccine passport’ scheme.
Involving practice teams in delivering certification would risk burying GPs in ‘cumbersome’ red tape, exacerbating their already ‘worryingly high’ workload and diverting valuable time away from patients, it said.
It comes as GPs have warned of unintended consequences of the new AZ vaccine advice, including creating ‘panic’ among patients and adding to the workload of already pressured practices.
A major survey has revealed that GPs are working 11-hour days and dealing with an average of 37 patients in that time – far more than the 28 patients they believe is the safe daily limit in the pandemic.