A GP will have to be on site at all times whenever vaccinations are taking place at the primary care vaccination sites, NHS England has said.
Last night, NHS England released the final details of the GP-led programme starting next week, which also revealed that GPs will be responsible for carrying out care home vaccinations.
It also stated that the patient group directions will be released in time for the start of the vaccination programme, following fears it wouldn’t be ready.
The letter, signed by primary care medical director Dr Nikki Kanani and director Ed Waller, was sent to GPs last night, on the eve of the deadline for signing up to the enhanced service.
- A GP will have to be on site at all times when vaccinations are taking place at PCN-led vaccination sites*;
- PCNs will be responsible for recalling over 80s, and this will be partly based on ethnicity*;
- The first patients will need to be booked in by tomorrow (Wednesday 9 December) and GPs will need to book them in for the initial dose and the follow up three weeks later*;
- GPs to start vaccinating care homes soon – they will be provided with mini fridges and gel packs in a bid to resolve the problems around cold chain with the Pfizer vaccine;
- The patient group directions are to be announced this week in time for PCNs go live;
- A helpline is being set up for GPs undertaking the vaccinations;
- All the timings and details relating to the supply of the vaccines and related equipment*.
This is the first time NHS England has said that GPs will need to be present for all vaccinations taking place.
The letter said: ‘Please note that there is a requirement for a GP to be available on site for each vaccination session/clinic. You must also have a clinical governance process in place, an identified lead practice to manage the workforce, safe staff arrangements and an operational lead for the site.’
‘We recommend that your sites finalise their workforce arrangements and have any new, temporary staff in place by Thursday 10 December.’
It goes on to confirm that care home vaccinations will be undertaken by GPs. It states: ‘You should start vaccinating patients aged 80 years and over as advised by the Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) from 15 December.
‘This excludes any patients within this cohort who are totally housebound. Once further operational advice on vaccine handling has been agreed you should also start to vaccinate care home residents. We will be working with sites during the week of 14 December to ensure safe set up of this delivery model.’
GPs will be provided with a freezer in which to store gel packs. These will then be used for cool boxes for GPs to use when they take the vaccine off-site for care homes and housebound patients.
Yesterday, Pulse reported that the lack of regulatory processes meant that – as things stand – GPs will need to individually approve every patient being vaccinated.
However, the letter said: ‘Public Health England will publish the Patient Group Direction (PGD) for the vaccine this week, and so the PGD will be in place in time for when sites start vaccinating patients.’
*Please note, Pulse will be publishing further stories on this throughout the day