GPs are unlikely to be able to use their regular IT system to record Covid vaccinations under the new enhanced service in England, according to NHS England.
In a webinar about the vaccination programme held yesterday afternoon, it said said there was a ‘suggestion’ that another system may need to be used.
NHS England said this comes as the currently used IT systems lack the required functionality, adding that work is ongoing to try to rectify this ‘if possible’.
NHS England primary care contracts director Ed Waller said: ‘People have asked why there is a suggestion that we may not use current GP systems to do all of the recording of information. That is something we are going to try and explain to people more clearly. ‘
He added: ‘We need to be able to provide information around the vaccination that you can’t currently record easily in GP systems, and we are trying to just make sure we put in place the clearest possible IT setup in order to do that reliantly at practice sites and, for example, in care homes where people go in to vaccinate off site.’
Dr Jonathan Leach, NHS England medical director for armed forces and veterans health, said it was ‘absolutely essential’ to be able to record who has had the vaccine and which professional administered it.
He said this was ‘essential to the longer term follow up of patients’ and ‘may also be needed for longer medico-legal reasons’.
‘What is slightly more complex… is that this vaccine is not just being delivered in primary care, it is also being delivered for occupational reasons,’ he added.
According to Dr Leach, a retired GP from Bromsgrove, NHS England is ‘working through at the moment’ the ‘specific requirements which are needed to be able to do all of this’.
‘We expect in the longer term that perhaps the GP systems will be able to do it but it may be that they may not be able to at the beginning. We’re certainly working on this and it’s one of the things that I want to resolve.’
‘It may take a little bit of time because of the complexity and scale of it, before we actually get all of the GP computer systems to that place. But that certainly is our overall aim, if at all possible,’ he added.
A BMA report published this week also addressed the issue, saying it will ‘be important to ensure systems are in place that allow for mass notification of patients and recording of vaccination status in the GP record’.