The Government has moved to remove excessive red tape for GP returners to join the Covid-19 vaccination effort in England.
As of yesterday, they no longer have to be included on the Performers list, nor do they have to demonstrate recent training on matters such as fire safety or conflict resolution in order to become vaccinators.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told Pulse that while all vaccinators will continue to need to be trained on the important clinical aspects including the characteristics of the vaccines they will be using, the following non-clinical modules have been removed:
- Conflict resolution
- Moving and handling
- Equality & Diversity – on induction.
- Fire safety
- Preventing radicalisation
- Safeguarding children – level 1
Meanwhile, a bulletin from NHS England on Thursday said ‘doctors who offer their support in delivering the Enhanced Service (ES) Specification COVID vaccination programme in primary care settings will be exempt from the requirement to be included on the England Medical Performers List.’
It added: ‘The Regulations, which come into force today (14 January), remove previous barriers and mean that any GMC-registered doctor will be able to administer the vaccine and any ancillary vaccine services under the ES Specification in a primary care setting.
‘We welcome this change in legislation which will support the rapid roll out of the vaccine, allowing more doctors to administer more COVID vaccines.’
The requirements for vaccinators had been criticised for being overly onerous, but the Department of Health and Social Care said there were now ‘no delays in Covid-19 vaccination caused by accrediting volunteers or returners’.
The spokesperson added: ‘We have reviewed the process for experienced clinicians to ensure it is smoother and takes account of their previous non-clinical training.’
Speaking at a House of Commons health and social care committee evidence session last week, health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Of course, I understand the workforce pressures, hence we’re trying to bring more people in and I’ve taken out a whole series of the – I thought – overburdensome training requirements. You no longer need to do fire safety training and anti-terrorism training to get back into the NHS to do vaccinations.’
NHS England has provided extra funding to general practice to hire extra staff for the vaccination effort, as well as towards keeping other services running.