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25% cut to Covid vaccine IoS ‘threat to patient safety’, BMA warns

25% cut to Covid vaccine IoS ‘threat to patient safety’, BMA warns

The Government has decided to cut the fee GPs are paid per Covid vaccination by a quarter, prompting BMA to issue a patient safety warning.

NHS England has published the new enhanced service specification for Covid vaccines to be delivered between 1 September and 31 March next year, setting out that GPs will be paid £7.54 for each vaccine administered – down from £10.06 – and continue to be paid £10 for each housebound patient.

The fee had already been reduced from £12.58 last year, when the BMA advised GPs to review whether they were still able to fulfil the ES commitments.

The new specification said that practices with ‘sufficient workforce capacity so as not to impact the delivery of essential services and appropriately trained and experienced staff’ must indicate their willingness to participate in the programme before 5pm on 29 August.

The Item of Service fee for flu remains £10.06 of each vaccine delivered, according to the new specification published last week.

But the BMA said that that NHS England’s decision to reduce the Covid fee ‘undervalues general practice and threatens the safety of vulnerable patients’.

The fee reduction comes after a series of talks between the BMA and NHS England, in which the union made clear that many practices would find it difficult to deliver the Covid vaccination programme this autumn with a 25% fee reduction.

According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), one in seven Covid cases in the country is now attributed to a new variant named Eris.

Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer, chair of the BMA’s GP Committee for England, said: ‘During Covid, GPs and their practice teams demonstrated that they could deliver an effective world beating vaccination programme in challenging circumstances.

‘Patients and GPs alike will despair that NHSE has announced substantial cuts to funding and resource of this national vaccination programme on the same day as news stories detail the arrival of a fresh Covid variant.

‘At a time when we should be learning from history, particularly around the importance and value of protecting our patients and minimising hospital admissions this winter, it is disappointing that practices will be put in a position where they are no longer able to deliver this, through no fault of their own due to short-sighted cuts.

‘The Covid vaccine delivery process is twice as long as administering flu jabs, and NHSE knows this. Our patients and communities need to be protected, and our practices resourced and supported to undertake this important work.’

An NHS spokesperson told Pulse: ‘The revised fee will sufficiently cover the average cost of vaccinating someone against Covid as part of what is now a more predictable, seasonal offer.

‘The NHS is working with vaccine sites to ensure a growing number offer both flu and Covid vaccinations at the same time where possible, to make it more convenient for people to get this life-saving protection ahead of winter, with additional payment available for a double jab in a single visit.’

The new fee covers the cost of vaccinating a patient, based on an assumption of five minutes for a typical vaccination and taking into account workforce, administrative and overhead costs, Pulse understands.

Last month, GP leaders had resisted NHS England proposals to further reduce the fee, arguing that it would make the programme ‘financially unviable’.


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Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

G Raj 7 August, 2023 1:00 pm

We are not signing up, it’s not worth it and a real
Kick in the teeth. It’s a vaccine that takes longer to give.

Mr Marvellous 7 August, 2023 1:39 pm

Just say NO folks.

It’s not your problem.

Mr Brown 7 August, 2023 1:43 pm

The NHSE calculations don’t seem to include a pretty standard 20% profit margin. This also applies to PCN commissioned extra contractual work as well.

We will be saying no.

John Graham Munro 7 August, 2023 2:23 pm

Is the above vaccination (pictured) being given into the Deltoid tendon?——-answers on a post card

Darren Tymens 7 August, 2023 3:04 pm

I wonder at NHSE’s motivations for this.
It could be that they are testing the water for further cuts: if we are prepared to do covid for this amount, why not flu? Just how far are we willing to allow them to exploit us?
It could be that they are hoping we will all decline, so that they can spend billions setting up and subsidising the national vaccine service first announced by Sajid Javid during his 20 minute stint as SoS for Health.
Either way, we appear to lose.

Chin Whybrew 7 August, 2023 5:14 pm

So we’ll be paid less for COVID jabs than flus? In spite of the significantly greater administrative burden of having to use outcomes4health to record it on, not to mention the huge admin burden of ordering and distribution.

Douglas Callow 7 August, 2023 7:51 pm

Got it in one Thats the gameplay and possibly to besmirch GPs in eyes of Daily Mail reading public

Richard Greenway 8 August, 2023 11:15 am

Worrying. Even data entry in Pinaccle takes 5 mins, never mind vaccine logistics, training, salaries, refrigeration, recall, home visiting. I think PCNs should be seriously reconsidering whether to sign up to this phase.

Truth Finder 9 August, 2023 2:13 pm

Just say no. We are tired giving our all to get the country out of lockdown and this is the reward.

Matthew Kiln 5 September, 2023 11:46 am

What it probably means is that the vaccine advisers now realise what a huge disappointment Covid 19 vaccines are, but they can’t officially say that. They are not worth giving for money or for any supposed benefit.