GP practices delivering the Covid vaccine are to be paid after each dose rather than after completion of both doses, NHS England has said.
It follows a decision by the Government to delay the gap between doses to 12 weeks, to deliver the first dose to as many people as possible in the shortest time.
An NHS England letter to practices last week outlined support provided to mitigate the ‘significant administrative implications’ of the move, including an ‘unreasonable’ delay to payment for practices.
The letter said: ‘To recognise that a delayed second dose will also delay payment to an unreasonable extent under the terms of the current Enhanced Service, we have agreed with the BMA an amendment to offer payment for each dose instead.
‘We understand that this remains an incredibly busy time for all and want to thank you for all of your work over 2020.’
Meanwhile, PCNs can now access a call centre set up free of charge by North of England CSU (NECS) on behalf of NHS England to contact patients to postpone appointments from 1 January , it added.
The letter said: ‘Call handlers will operate from a core script and FAQs and PCN sites will receive confirmation once cancellations are confirmed with their patients. PCN sites will still need to contact and book in new patients for clinics next week.’
NHS England also asked CCGs to ‘marshal and offer all possible support to PCNs’ delivering the vaccination programme and said it would do ‘all [it] can to support public messaging’, including producing a template patient letter and script for ‘challenging conversations’.
It reiterated the offer of a £1,000 payment to support PCN sites with the administrative costs of rescheduling appointments.
However, the BMA has said it will support GPs who honour appointments already made to administer the second dose of the Covid vaccine within three weeks of the first dose.
It comes as doctors’ groups have raised concerns about the cancelling of appointments, with the Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) warned there was ‘chaos ensuing’.