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Practice staff vaccinations not covered under indemnity scheme, BMA says

Exclusive The BMA has ‘urgently’ raised the issue that GP practices are not covered under the state-backed indemnity scheme to vaccinate their own staff with NHS England and Public Health England, Pulse has learned.

It is also liaising with MDOs to ensure the information around indemnity coverage is ‘consistent’.

The new NHS indemnity scheme for GPs in England and Wales, which came into effect on 1 April, covers the cost of clinical negligence claims arising from NHS work. However, the scope document – outlining which activities are covered under the scheme – does not mention the vaccination of general practice staff.

GP leaders have said it is ‘ridiculous’ that NHS staff are not being fully protected during flu season. 

The clinical negligence scheme for general practice (CNSGP) currently covers giving advice about travel vaccinations and the supply and administration of NHS funded travel vaccinations for patients. It does not cover paid-for vaccinations for patients. 

Practices are now being told that they are not covered by the indemnity scheme for vaccinating their own staff ahead of the flu season, Pulse has learned. 

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ’Practice staff vaccinations are an essential part of the winter flu campaign, and we have raised this issue with both NHS England and Public Health England as a matter that requires addressing urgently.

’We are also liaising with medical defence organisations to ensure they are providing consistent information about coverage to their members.’

Dr Matt Mayer, chief executive of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire LMCs said referring staff to their own GP to get vaccinated takes up valuable appointments.

He said: ’This is ridiculous that the Government would not be doing everything it can to maximise the protection of NHS staff during flu season.

’Furthermore, advising staff to go their own GP practice will take up valuable appointments unnecessarily. It makes no sense, and it seems very easy to fix. All the Government needs to do is to ensure the indemnity scheme covers the vaccination of staff.’

The MDU has confirmed its indemnity covers staff vaccination and members are not charged extra for staff flu vaccinations.

An MDU spokesperson said: ‘Some practices find it easiest to vaccinate staff against flu in the practice.

’In order to assist MDU members, we already include indemnity for this within GP membership. We make no additional charge for members who wish to provide flu vaccinations to practice staff members.’

MDDUS declined to comment at this time. NHS Resolutions and the Department of Health and Social Care have been contacted for comment