This site is intended for health professionals only


More than half of GPs do not think they should be ‘main providers’ of Covid jabs


Covid vaccine main providers


Exclusive GPs should not be the ‘main providers’ of Covid vaccinations, according to more than half of GPs responding to a major Pulse survey.

The survey of 761 GPs in England revealed that 53% believe GPs should not be the main providers of Covid vaccinations.

Less than a third (29%) of respondents said they should, while the remainder (18%) said they didn’t know.

NHS England has said that GP-led Covid vaccination sites will be able to continue delivering jabs until September if they have ‘sufficient capacity’, although some may be asked to suspend the service if they are not delivering ‘value for money’.

But GPs taking part in the survey raised concerns around funding for the service and practice teams already being ‘swamped’ with work.

Manchester GP partner Dr Vivian Wilkinson told Pulse: ‘From a patient’s perspective, it’s a good idea but for a GP, we have so much work to do already, with a backlog of cases due to the pandemic.

‘Trying to coordinate vaccinations is quite difficult, but if the Covid vaccination can be modified and given with the flu jab, and it doesn’t need the 15-minute observation afterwards, then it would make sense. We’d need additional funding, though, for staff.’

And Stockport GP partner Dr James Higgins warned that the financial impact of leading Covid vaccinations could affect GPs’ ability to offer services to other patients.

He said: ‘We will inevitably be tasked with vaccinating the harder-to-reach – housebound, elderly, multimorbid, care homes – so to resource other services equally for vaccinating the “low-hanging fruit” increases the risk of our campaigns to vaccinate the complex running at a financial loss, impacting on our ability to offer services to other patients.’

However, those in support of GP practices being the main providers of Covid vaccinations pointed to the fact GPs already routinely provide vaccinations against a range of illnesses and are ‘the first choice’ for most patients.

Doncaster GP partner Dr David Coleman said: ‘We currently deliver seasonal flu, baby immunisations and travel vaccinations. As long as Covid vaccination is well-funded and is something practices or PCNs have a degree of choice over, it is something we could accommodate.’

Portfolio GP Dr Christine Clayton added: ‘We know how to run an efficient and organised vaccine programme. 

‘We’ve been doing it for flu for years. We are far cheaper than pharmacies and the first choice for most patients.’

The GP Covid vaccine enhanced service was due to expire at the end of this month, but it was last week extended until September.

NHS England had previously indicated that it was expected to be extended – although it told GPs that delivery must not impact on ‘core’ GP services and said it ‘anticipated’ some GP-led vaccination sites would ‘deliver significantly fewer vaccinations or hibernate over the next few months’.

Meanwhile, the National Audit Office (NAO) has found that GP-delivered Covid jabs are better value for money than mass vaccination centres.

But health secretary Sajid Javid has said a ‘national vaccination service’ is required to ensure GPs are not asked to stop routine care again.

NHS England has said that PCN vaccination sites are ‘not expected’ to lead the spring Covid booster jab programme or the rollout for five-to-11-year-olds, due to ongoing workforce pressures.

Complete relevant Covid-19 CPD modules on Pulse Learning by registering for free, or upgrade to a premium membership for full access at only £89 a year.

READERS' COMMENTS [7]

Kevlar Cardie 15 March, 2022 10:30 am

The whole NHS is SNAFUBAR.
10 hour ambulance wait for an acute admission yesterday.
Wont name the trust, but it rhymes with EMAS.
Suspect its the same nationally.
Cant wait to retire.
Standing by for this to be deleted.
We mustn’t offend anyone with the facts, must we ?

Bonglim Bong 15 March, 2022 11:19 am

I don’t understand why PCNs/ practices which have either opted out of delivering jabs, or as it implies here kicked out of giving jabs would have anything to do with the process. I understand there is no contract or payment for identifying at risk patients contacting them or directing them to the appropriate service.

Patrufini Duffy 15 March, 2022 1:07 pm

29%. Well, earns the mega practice / consortium PCN a good dollar, whilst not picking up their phone and diverting people to e-consult in misery. To the 18% that don’t know. That kind of sums it up. Ambivalent good doers.

David Jenner 15 March, 2022 1:31 pm

As always depends on your circumstances
In my rural practice with spacious premises it works really well and saves patients and the planet a 20 mile drive to get a jab and we have wonderful volunteers to help run it and enough clinicians to jab.
Could be very different in an inner city practice with unideal premises and few staff with alternatives nearby .
But decline at your peril , Javid what’s to outsource all your vaccinations ( and associated income ) to others.
They always take the bits of your job with dedicated funding and leave you with all the stuff you have to do for nothing .
And it should be for individual practices not PCNs to decide what they can do especially as the vaccine now comes in smaller batches .

Vinci Ho 15 March, 2022 1:32 pm

The determining factor to switch between yes or no to deliver these vaccinations, remains as the actual number of patients eligible in a fixed period of time . If the number is rather confined to only several cohorts e.g. age over 75 ( beware of the difficult to reach housebound ones) and immunocompromised patients , one can argue some GP practices/PCNs are already well equipped to deliver more boosters.
On the contrary , mass vaccination involving multiple cohorts is certainly not practical and realistic as far as resources ( funding , time , space and workforce ) are concerned . The realistic question is how many more and often boosters are to be given moving forward ?😳🤔🤨

Richard Greenway 15 March, 2022 2:46 pm

I love the bit about GP PCN vaccination centres delivering “value for money”. T

hey only get paid an IOS for the vaccines they give, no upfront funding, all staff have to be employed by GP practice organisation, GPs recruit volunteers, no / minimal premises costs. Its doesn’t get much better value than this for NHSE with anyone else doing it!

Subhash Chandra Bhatt 15 March, 2022 3:57 pm

From December 2020 to February 2022 pcns have done great job to immunise hundred to thousands patient. At each clinic . I understand saving will go to practices.
Now number needing vaccine is small . Best option is for pcns to join together, it will make economical sense. Practice have more than enough to do. Then give boosters .