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NHSE: GPs can deprioritise medication reviews to focus on Covid vaccinations

Covid antivirals

Structured medication reviews are among tasks which GP practices can deprioritise to free up staff to administer Covid vaccinations, NHS England has said.

Local enhanced services should also be ‘re-purposed’ if possible to free up ‘funded capacity’ for the new enhanced service, it added.

NHS England last night outlined further details of the upcoming Covid vaccination programme in a webinar for GP and other primary care teams that was closed to the media.

A slide, seen by Pulse, set out the additional steps taken to help practices above and beyond the ‘general clinical prioritisation’ that practices ‘are used to managing’.

It said: ‘PCNs should note that the Structured Medication Review and Medicines Optimisation service requirements in the Network Contract DES are very clear that the number of SMRs to be delivered will be determined and limited by PCN pharmacist capacity.

‘Depending on local clinical prioritisation, it is likely to be that case that Covid vaccination is considered a priority for deploying available clinical pharmacists in the short term.’

Staff employed under the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS) ‘can be deployed as required to vaccination as integral members of PCN teams’ and any extra hours worked can be reimbursed, the slide added.

It said: ‘A PCN may use its Additional Roles Reimbursement Sum to reimburse extra hours worked by PCN staff, at plain time rates only, as long as the increase in WTE hours worked is clearly recorded on the PCN’s claim form and National Workforce Reporting System.’

Networks should continue to recruit staff into additional roles and information will be released ‘in due course’ on further workforce support for the vaccination programme from ‘local systems’, NHS England added.

Another slide added that local enhanced services ‘should where possible be re-purposed by agreement with CCGs to make funded capacity available for Covid-19 vaccination’.

Extended access and extended hours capacity should also be ‘reprioritised to provide additional capacity’, it said.

NHS England reiterated that ‘many areas will not be in a position to carry out appraisals at this time’ and that QOF has been ‘significantly income-protected’ around long-term condition management.

It said: ‘Practices should approach the management of long-term conditions on the basis of clinical prioritisation and should continue to record patient contact but this will not impact payment.’

NHS England has promised a ring-fenced £150m fund to help boost capacity in general practice during the vaccination campaign, although it comes with a number of strings.

Pulse exclusively revealed that the Covid vaccine enhanced service would be imminently announced, followed by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens stating on BBC’s Today programme that they had ‘reached agreement with the GPs’.

However, LMCs have warned practices that the programme’s ‘impossible’ requirements will put GPs at ‘contractual risk’.

And yesterday NHS England confirmed to Pulse that GP practices in some areas may need to provide Covid vaccinations on Christmas Day to avoid wasting vaccine stock.


Michael Mullineux 16 November, 2020 10:18 am

Smoke and mirrors with planning and advice on the hoof as usual …

Robert Caudwell 16 November, 2020 10:22 am

I’m confused. How does stepping something down that is done by pharmacists (who can’t give the Covid vaccinations) free up capacity for another member of the primary care team to give Covid vaccinations?

Dustyn Saint 16 November, 2020 11:16 am

Hahahahaha, this confirms that NHSE have absolutely no idea what GPs or their teams do, or how they operate….

Reply moderated
Mr Marvellous 16 November, 2020 11:39 am

Our PCN was moaning that the CCG target of 200 medication reviews per YEAR was too hard.

That’s less than 1 per working day!

I hope removing this burden results in a similar number of Covid jabs being undertaken.

Not on your nelly 16 November, 2020 11:46 am

Is that it? Are you kidding??

Mr Marvellous 16 November, 2020 11:55 am

>Is that it? Are you kidding??

No, seriously.

In fairness I’m not sure if they had re-purposed them for another of the (useless) PCN tasks, but they genuinely had a problem with 200.

Reply moderated
Patrufini Duffy 16 November, 2020 1:52 pm

Dumb. U turns and the clueless. How revolutionary. Elon Musk is sending rockets in the air, and dumb perennial schemes destined for the shredder still thrill some in NHSE. What happpened to social prescribing? I’m missing that Fad.

Jeremy Platt 17 November, 2020 9:12 am

200 only? That’s less than one per working day per pharmacist! Don’t deprioritize – dump them!