I’ve not seen the detail of the Covid vaccine DES yet, but there’s enough devil in the précis for me to be feeling queasy already.
I’ll not bore you with the 101 logistical headaches this DES will cause us, because you’ll have thought of them already. But I would highlight that it looks like we could be Covid-jabbing through the bank holidays. As they kick off with 25 December, maybe we should get that fat bloke who achieves global coverage every Christmas to help out – and maybe his mate Frosty the Snowman could solve the refrigeration issue, too.
All of which suggests that heading up a Covid vaccine campaign is not on my Christmas list this year. Correct. What is there, right between a Scalextric and a year’s supply of fluoxetine, is some clarity of message from the GPC.
After all, on 29 November, we had a GPC letter to NHSE which I’d paraphrase as follows: ‘More GP appointments provided…fewer GPs…media criticism…no support for GPs…profession exhausted…’ And about a week later we had the GPC announcing that GPs would be taking on the most intense and fraught vaccination campaign in history. The message here isn’t so much mixed as sliced, diced and put in a blender.
And it leaves us in a lose-lose. Take on the DES and we risk implosion. Decline the DES and we risk another media slating.
The glib response is, of course, that we’re ‘ideally placed’ to provide the programme. Yes, and we’re ideally placed to do everything else, aren’t we, from screening for domestic violence to checking domestic boilers. And if we continue to absorb everything else we’re ideally placed for, then either we really are underemployed or we really are going to fall over. I know which I believe, but I’m not sure the GPC does. It’s even glibber response, I’m guessing, might be that, if you want something done, you ask a busy person. Yes, but not a burnt-out one.
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of Copperfield’s blogs at http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/views/copperfield