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Vaccines minister urges GPs to ‘maintain momentum’ on Covid jabs programme

Vaccines minister urges GPs to ‘maintain momentum’ on Covid jabs programme

Exclusive Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has urged GPs to ‘maintain momentum’ on the Covid vaccination campaign despite the ‘enormous pressures’ practices are facing.

It comes as NHS England has announced that GP and pharmacy vaccination sites are set to receive a cash injection of £20m to boost uptake of the Covid jab.

In an exclusive opinion piece for Pulse, Mr Zahawi praised the efforts of healthcare workers who have made ‘unforgettable sacrifices’ and ‘moved mountains’ to vaccinate the country against Covid.

He said: ‘A large and integral part of this workforce has been those working in primary care – from GPs, nurses and pharmacists, to receptionists, administrative staff and volunteers – every person has played a crucial role in this achievement.

‘We would not be where we are today – with over 14,000 lives saved and 42,000 hospitalisations prevented – without their contributions to the cause, delivering an exceptional 75% of all vaccines.’

Mr Zahawi added his thanks for primary care staff’s ‘tireless dedication and commitment’ in the face of ‘enormous pressure’ but stressed the importance of keeping up ‘momentum’ with the delivery of Covid jabs.

He said: ‘We recognise the vaccination programme has placed GPs and primary care under enormous pressure, especially with more and more patients wanting to see their GPs for other conditions.

‘[But] we must do everything we can to maintain the impressive momentum, while ensuring our primary care providers can balance the growing demand.’

Mr Zahawi reiterated that the new £20m funding will support an extra seven members of staff on average for each PCN and that vaccination sites will now be given earlier notice of vaccine supply.

NHS England has also asked CCGs to ‘minimise any burden’ on GP practices from services they commission that aren’t focused on Covid or ‘recovery’, as part of measures to support the vaccination programme.

Meanwhile, the BMA met with the health secretary to discuss the current GP crisis last month, after an emergency motion stipulated it should demand an ‘urgent meeting’.

Pulse revealed today that the BMA is still waiting for a response that will ‘restore confidence’ in NHS England following the fallout around GP face-to-face appointments.



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

Azeem Majeed 14 June, 2021 2:31 pm

Dr Simon Hodes and I discuss the key issues in building a sustainable infrastructure for the Covid-19 vaccination programme in a recent article for the BMJ. Primary care teams must be fully supported if they are expected to provide mass covid-19 vaccination in addition to their core work. Investment in GP-led vaccination sites, supported by local pharmacies, is likely to be the most cost-effective option for ongoing mass vaccination.

John Graham Munro 14 June, 2021 2:49 pm

Of course we will continue to work our backsides off———we are getting a 1 % pay increase after all

Patrufini Duffy 14 June, 2021 2:53 pm

Great momentum in needling healthcare staff in the eye. You keep the summer’s alcohol and partying privileges up, and we’ll keep the world of deja-vu in solid momentum. Few will turn up for your 2022/3 vaccine programme. May want to let the dentists or bankers run it. I saw them at the golf course. Actually. GPs can do it in 2026/7.

Mr Marvellous 14 June, 2021 4:10 pm

So how come individual pharmacies can have an enhanced service to vaccinate but not individual surgeries?

And of course we have to find a use for PCNs…..

Ian Morris 14 June, 2021 5:06 pm

Dear Nadhim Zahawi, it would be lovely if there was some of acknowledgement, from your Government, for the effort we GP`s have already put in. It would appear that many of our patients read the papers, that have incorrectly said we are shut and uncaring. Perhaps a proper thank you, and correcting the media would be a good start to get us GP`s to continue the amazing effort .But we seem to be up to our eyeballs in work, and a lot of us are getting ill, or leaving.

From all The GPs who are left.

Ps, paying us properly would help too.

Vinci Ho 15 June, 2021 7:37 am

Obviously , the vaccine minister is playing ‘good’ cop and the media plus NHSE are trying to be the bad one .
Realistically, there are some issues outstanding:
(1) As the complete relief of Covid restrictions are procrastinated , some time is perhaps bought in terms of expecting GP surgeries ‘opening their doors wide’ from the public and media. The government and its scientists must make up their mind what role GPs are to play in this potential third wave of Covid 19 in this country . They cannot be too greedy . Something has to give , as simple as that .
(2) One crystal clear message that must be delivered to the public by the government is : GP surgeries cannot be equated to non-essential shops on high streets allowing customers walking in freely .
Patients are not customers fundamentally. GP surgeries are not about customer services , no matter how you look at it . Public Health England , ironically at odds to NHSE/I , reinforced the current triaging model in general practice. Of course , there is a significant number of patients who should be seen face to face by GPs sooner rather than later but that simply represents the importance of exercising good selection mechanism to filter these patients out in the first place . My gut feeling is a ‘hybrid’ model of triaging and face to face , will be the way forward in the foreseeable future .
(3) PCNs and their CDs are burnt out . Many CDs still retain substantial commitment to his/her own practices while the job of CD at PCN is arguably a full time job . Otherwise , why does NHSE increase CD remuneration to near whole-time-equivalent as long as the PCN is involving actively in the vaccination programme? The reality is ,that put CDs on No Man’s land while his/her practice colleagues are all already tied up with their practice businesses fire-fighting everyday dealing with complaints, so-called ‘recovery’ , workload dumped by secondary care , rejected hospital referrals etc .

The animosity and hostility between BMA/GPC England and NHSE/I is phenomenal , well indicative of a mismatch between demands and feasibilities.
GPs have undoubtedly sacrificed to provide 75% of the Covid vaccination( at least , in first phase ) and arguably saved the ‘reputation’ of this government.
In terms of justice , as defined by Michael J Sandel , I think the authorities have only one choice : reward GP surgeries by providing genuine protection limiting the list of services available.

‘’Arguments about justice and rights are often arguments about the purpose, or telos, of a social institution, which in turn reflect competing notions of the virtues the institution should reward and honour .”
Michael J Sandel

Patrufini Duffy 15 June, 2021 1:59 pm

Heard a call – **and not the first: “my parents are coming from New Zealand for 4 weeks – I want them temporary registered to get the covid vaccine”.

How to you momentum that?