This autumn the practices in the Woodsley and Holt Park Primary Care Networks will be unable to offer the Covid vaccination service. This is not an individual practice decision but one that has had to be taken by the network as a whole due to the nature of the contract. This will not affect your flu jab which can be booked at your practice in the usual way.
From 2 October 2023 patients can contact the Covid National Booking Service (NBS), whether via NHS.uk, the NHS App or telephone, to book their Covid jab at a local vaccination centre. Vaccinations will start from 7 October.
This years Covid Vaccination contract states that networks should sign up if they have “sufficient workforce capacity so as not to impact the delivery of essential services”. Our network does not believe this is the case. Covid vaccination programmes are hugely disruptive to core operations and this year changes to computer systems have created even more operational constraints.
You may have read press coverage that the Government has decided to cut the fee Networks are paid per Covid vaccination by 25% prompting the BMA to issue a patient safety warning. This comes at a time when practices, like all businesses and individuals, are under financial pressure due to inflationary pressures. The BMA has said that that NHS England’s decision to reduce the Covid fee “undervalues general practice”.
Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer, chair of the BMA’s GP Committee for England, said: ‘During Covid, GPs and their practice teams demonstrated that they could deliver an effective world beating vaccination programme in challenging circumstances.
‘Patients and GPs alike will despair that NHSE has announced substantial cuts to funding and resource of this national vaccination programme.
“It is disappointing that networks will be put in a position where they are no longer able to deliver this, through no fault of their own due to short-sighted cuts.
‘The Covid vaccine delivery process is twice as long as administering flu jabs, and NHSE knows this. Our patients and communities need to be protected, and our practices resourced and supported to undertake this important work.’