Responding to news that Government plans to offer Covid-19 booster vaccines to everyone over 18 by the end of January, Dr Farah Jameel, GPC chair at the BMA, said:
“GPs and their teams will always be there for their patients and their communities, but will need substantial support if we are to further accelerate the booster campaign.
“At present, practices physically don’t have the staff or spare capacity to manage the additional numbers of patients expected to come forward for boosters alongside all the non-Covid care and assessments their contracts have bound them to do, so the funding, whilst welcome, will do little to help alleviate current pressures. With a finite number of staff and hours in the day there is a limit to what practices can achieve and the Government and NHS England needs to be honest with the public about this.
“If the Government and NHSEI wants more practices to get involved again with vaccinations, as many will want to do at such a critical time, they need to be freed from bureaucracy and lower-priority, centrally imposed targets – releasing time and staff so practice teams can get jabs into arms as quickly as possible.
“It’s promising that NHS England have this evening alluded to alleviating the burdens on practices to help free-up more time for them to deliver boosters, but we urgently need more detail and mostly importantly, action. I have every confidence in GPs and their teams stepping up to the plate to support their communities at this great time of need and national effort, but we need to be supported so we can care for our patients."
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association 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.