Responding to news that GP practices will receive increased financial support to deliver Covid-19 vaccines before the end of October, Dr Samira Anane, deputy chair of GPC England at the BMA, said:
“We welcome news that NHS England has, following BMA lobbying, decided to increase financial support for practices to deliver Covid-19 vaccines, helping to safeguard vulnerable patients this winter. Making sure that GPs have the right resources is essential in helping them to deliver as many boosters as possible, and to ensure that communities are protected against this highly-transmissible, new variant.
“While many practices may feel relieved that the vaccine programme may be more viable for them to deliver, the increased payments are only available until the end of October – at which point the base fee returns to the much lower rate, that made so many practices question if they could provide the Covid vaccines at all this year.
“This programme comes as an incredibly demanding piece of work, which will have an impact across general practice, generating significant workload as a result. The restrictions on not being able to use enhanced access services to help vaccinate patients presents an additional barrier to helping protect our patients and will mean workforce will be stretched beyond capacity.”
“General practice has been the key to the success of the Covid vaccination programme since its inception, but existing pressures on our services have worsened in recent years, making this tight timeframe even more of a challenge for GPs and their teams. We therefore, urge NHS England to provide adequate financial support beyond the end of October to ensure that any practices still needing to provide boosters after this time, can.
“Thankfully, many GP practices had already prepared to deliver the flu vaccination programme in September despite suggestions that NHS England would delay it, so practices are already on-track to deliver this before the end of October and make sure those who are eligible get the protection they need.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.