Responding to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO), which found that the Covid-19 vaccination programme met unprecedented targets and helped save lives and reduce serious illness and hospitalisation, Dr Farah Jameel, chair of GPC England at the BMA, said:
“This report rightly shines a light on the incredible efforts of GPs and their teams during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the vital role they played, and continue to play, in protecting the lives of millions of patients across England.
“At the time, despite limited supplies of what we know now to have been unsafe and inadequate PPE and no guaranteed resources, practice teams transformed their services overnight in response to the crisis; taking steps to protect the vulnerable, setting up dedicated vaccine sites, and ultimately leading the largest vaccination programme in history. At times, due to failing infrastructure, GPs and their teams took to manual methods to record vaccinations - something quite astonishing for the 21st Century. Many also dramatically increased uptake in harder-to-reach vulnerable groups by starting pop-up clinics in temples, libraries and community centres, even vaccine taxis and buses. Through dedication to our communities and our patients is how this programme was delivered. We left no stone unturned.
“Today’s report is testament to the dedication of GPs and their teams - alongside our pharmacy colleagues - what we stand for, and how much we care for our patients and communities. And it’s because of this highly-effective template that the NHS can now turn its attention to tackling the backlog of other care, content in the knowledge that our blueprint for delivering future Covid vaccines works, as colleagues begin to deliver the next stage of doses.
“This work shows what can be achieved when unnecessary red tape is removed and GPs are allowed to lead from the front, and this is something we hope Government will seek to continue as we look to recovery.”
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.