NHS England has released £12.2m for GP practices to cover the ‘reasonable additional’ costs of delivering this year’s expanded flu vaccination programme, it has announced.
Funding will be provided to PCNs and GP practices to cover additional venue hires and associated costs such as signage and ‘external temporary shelters’ as well as additional fridges or ‘mobile cold storage’, NHS England said.
An additional £3.2m has been set aside for community pharmacies to cover their additional costs, it added.
In a new guidance document, NHS England said: ‘NHS England and NHS Improvement have made available an additional £15.4m to local systems and primary care providers to cover reasonable additional costs (over and above the usual fee structures) associated with this year’s extended flu programme.
‘This is in recognition of the fact that considering social distancing, some flu providers may need to adopt alternative delivery models – eg drive-in vaccination or mass vaccination clinics – as well as deliver vaccinations from alternative locations.’
The funding will also cover costs ‘incurred by CCGs on behalf of’ practices, such as where commissioners have hired additional venues and made them available as a ‘free good’ to providers, the guidance said.
However, it added that claims ‘will not be authorised’ for costs already funded by ‘other routes’, including any locally agreed contracts.
Additional staff costs, routine vaccination consumables like syringes or sharps disposal, PPE and ‘communications and advertising’ are not eligible for the funding, it said.
Each CCG has been ‘allocated an indicative budget’, which they exceed ‘at their own risk’, the guidance added.
It said: ‘CCGs are expected to manage the claims from practices and any costs incurred by the CCG on behalf of local providers within this fixed funding envelope.
‘If a CCG exceeds their fixed funding envelope, this is at their own risk.’
Practices may have to repay ‘an appropriate portion’ of funding given ‘outside the terms’ of the guidance, or have it ‘set off against practice global sum or such other monies due under the GP contract’, it added.
CCGs should ‘consider any exceptional circumstances in making these judgements’, it said.
Meanwhile, NHS England said: ‘Applications from practices/pharmacies that demonstrate joint working and collaborative delivery approaches with other local providers will be encouraged.’
Any claims for costs incurred between 1 and 30 September will be payable ‘at the discretion of the commissioner’, while claims for costs incurred from 1 October onwards will need ‘pre-authorisation’ from CCGs, it added.
Practices should submit claims with ‘any associated evidence or invoices’ to the CCG within six weeks of pre-authorisation and commissioners should ‘aim to’ process claims ‘promptly’, it said.
It comes as the Government announced yesterday that ‘millions’ more doses of flu vaccine are to be delivered after new laws have enabled the distribution of a yet-to-be-licensed vaccine.
The Government is targeting 30 million people in this year’s expanded flu vaccination campaign, with a larger number of patients having been made eligible for free flu jabs.