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Health boards to take lead on Covid vaccinations in Scotland


GPs in Scotland will play a part in a coronavirus vaccination programme but will not be involved in its setting up and running, Pulse has learned.

Dr Andrew Buist, chair of Scotland’s BMA GP committee said arrangements were being finalised but health boards would have overall responsibility for a Covid vaccination programme.

Vaccination was one of the services transferred to health boards from practices in the 2018 GP contract over a three-year period.

Dr Buist told Pulse they were in discussions with the Scottish Government to finalise arrangements for delivery of a Covid vaccine service.

Essentially the health boards will be in overall charge of the programme as it will require mass vaccination centres running for the best part of a year and I consider that is beyond general practice when we have so many other things to deal with.

‘However GP practices can and I hope will play their part. [Scottish Government] is concerned that hard to reach groups may find it difficult attending mass centres and that general practice can help here, the 80 years and over group are one such cohort.’

He said he would share more detail once the plans for Scotland were signed off.

It is a departure from plans in England where an enhanced service has been proposed for practices and PCNs to start administering a Covid vaccine from the beginning of December.

NHS England has said it expects GP practices to ‘remain open and accessible to all patients’ while vaccinating the population against Covid, and that it would distribute £150m to CCGs to facilitate this

This week Pfizer announced that its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, of which the UK Government has secured 10m doses for use ‘by the end of the year’, is ‘90%’ effective.

Northern Ireland is expected to have comparable arrangements to those in England but discussions were ongoing, the GP leaders said.

Dr Alan Stout, chair of Northern Ireland’s GP committee said: ‘We have no local agreement or detail on this yet, but it is likely to be roughly similar to the English agreement.’

Negotiations are also still underway in Wales.