GPs may REFUSE to sign-up to UKs Covid vaccine drive unless they are given more money – Daily Mail

Last Updated on December 1, 2020 by

GPs could refuse to help deliver Britain’s mass Covid-19 vaccine drive amid a money row, it emerged today.

Britain is revving up to start administering thousands of jabs a day as soon as one is given approval by the medical regulator, which could be within days.

To be fit for purpose, many GP practices will need to hire extra staff, install special fridges to keep the vaccines stored at ultra-low temperatures and reconfigure surgeries to cope with the flow of patients while maintaining social distancing.

A letter from the Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) GP committee to Matt Hancock has demanded surgeries be paid up front for the extra costs of delivering the jabs.   

The threat comes after GPs accused the Government of being slow to reimburse them for emergency measures such as PPE and perspex screens during the first wave. 

The British Medical Association (BMA) has struck a deal on behalf of GPs to dispense the vaccines, though it sill remains for practices, which are private businesses, to sign up to the contract individually.    

It comes as doctors today warned IT problems could make a ‘dog’s breakfast’ out of the vaccine programme because it’s too centralised and ‘doesn’t interface with primary care’.

An NHS boss said they feared the roll out is heading in the same direction as the beleaguered Test and Trace scheme, which has been plagued with problems. 

Some GPs may refuse to help deliver Britain’s mass coronavirus vaccine drive amid a row over their salary, it emerged today. Pfizer’s vaccine looks set to be the first approved in Britain 

The DAUK letter, seen by The Telegraph, warns: ‘This is a huge undertaking and poses a significant financial risk to primary care, who will have to shoulder the financial burden.

‘We cannot ask this of GPs when so much is at stake nationally … There needs to be a higher fee to acknowledge the huge ask and realistic costs of this programme.’

NHS bosses remain confident that enough practices will sign up to deliver the inoculation programme. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock promised the NHS would be ready to start dishing out the jabs from today, but the health service is still waiting on a vaccine being approved.  

At least £170million will be spent on transforming GP surgeries, pharmacies and other locations into vaccination hubs.

Under current plans, local clusters of GP practices will become joined-up to deliver the vaccine without having to cancel non-Covid appointments.

It could mean turning one surgery into a vaccine-only hub, while moving the normal services to a nearby practice or renting a new premise altogether.

But Dr Vimesh Patel, from the DAUK GP committee, said he has doubts about whether surgeries will be able to afford this.

He told the newspaper: ‘Many colleagues have huge concerns over the feasibility of this. I hope the profession is strong enough to say no to the arrangements if they are unrealistic.’ 

Nadhim Zahawi - the new minister for the mass vaccine roll out - suggested restaurants, bars and cinemas may turn customers away if they have not had a Covid jab

Nadhim Zahawi - the new minister for the mass vaccine roll out - suggested restaurants, bars and cinemas may turn customers away if they have not had a Covid jab

Nadhim Zahawi – the new minister for the mass vaccine roll out – suggested restaurants, bars and cinemas may turn customers away if they have not had a Covid jab

No jab? You’re barred! Bars, restaurants, cinemas and sports venues could turn away anyone who hasn’t had a Covid-19 vaccine 

Restaurants, bars and cinemas may turn customers away if they have not had a Covid jab, the new minister for the mass vaccine roll-out suggested tonight.

Nadhim Zahawi indicated that although an injection would be voluntary, some venues – including sports grounds – might insist on proof of one in return for granting entry.

The minister said individuals would have to decide for themselves but would be given the ‘strong message’ that jabs were good for their family, community and country.

Airlines have already been examining the idea of asking for ‘immunity passports’ as a condition of flying.

Some experts tonight said they were uneasy about such schemes and raised concerns over data privacy and human rights.

The UK has put in orders for early access to 357million doses of seven coronavirus vaccines. And on a visit to a pharmaceutical company yesterday Boris Johnson said it was possible that one of the jabs could be available ‘in a few weeks’.

In his first interview since becoming minister for Covid vaccine deployment, Mr Zahawi was asked yesterday about immunity passports and vaccination status being included in the NHS Covid app.

Referring to the vaccine, Mr Zahawi told BBC Radio 4: ‘It is right that it is voluntary. But the very strong message that you will see, this is the way we return the whole country to normal, and so it’s good for your family, it’s good for your community, it’s good for your country.’

On immunity passports he continued: ‘You’ll probably find restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues – sports venues – will probably also use that system as they’ve done with the app. The reason the app has been so successful is because a lot of places that you would go to, they’ve got the QR code from the NHS that you scan for your own safety.’

Meanwhile, several doctors and sources in primary care technology have raised concerns about IT problems that could hamper the vaccine roll out, according to the Health Service Journal

The Covid vaccines need to be taken in two doses about a month apart. IT concerns revolve around systems used for booking vaccination appointment that then send a re-invite for the second dose.  

HSJ reports that NHS England and NHS Digital are spearheading the creation of the national booking system for mass vaccination centres, due to be set up around England in venues such as conference centres and sports stadiums.

But the IT system is not being rolled out for individual GP practices or pharmacies giving vaccines, which will be required to  operate their own systems or carry the process out manually.

The main concern is that the local and national systems will not be joined up and that there is no shared record of who has and hasn’t been vaccinated.

Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group chair and former NHS England adviser Sir Sam Everington told HSJ that the CCG’s vaccine and flu leads fear the national call and recall system will make a ‘dog’s breakfast’ of the vaccine programme, as ‘it doesn’t interface with primary care’.

He said there was a ‘real risk’ the roll out is headed for disaster like NHS Test and Trace. There have been notorious issues coordinating centralised ‘pillar one’ NHS labs and ‘pillar two’ labs, which are mostly run by the independent sector.

It comes after the new minister for the mass vaccine roll out suggested last night restaurants, bars and cinemas may turn customers away if they have not had a jab.

Nadhim Zahawi indicated that although an injection would be voluntary, some venues – including sports grounds – might insist on proof of one in return for granting entry.

The minister said individuals would have to decide for themselves but would be given the ‘strong message’ that jabs were good for their family, community and country.

Airlines have already been examining the idea of asking for ‘immunity passports’ as a condition of flying.

Some experts said they were uneasy about such schemes and raised concerns over data privacy and human rights.

In his first interview since becoming minister for Covid vaccine deployment, Mr Zahawi was asked yesterday about immunity passports and vaccination status being included in the NHS Covid app.

Referring to the vaccine, Mr Zahawi told BBC Radio 4: ‘It is right that it is voluntary. But the very strong message that you will see, this is the way we return the whole country to normal, and so it’s good for your family, it’s good for your community, it’s good for your country.’

On immunity passports he continued: ‘You’ll probably find restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues – sports venues – will probably also use that system as they’ve done with the app. The reason the app has been so successful is because a lot of places that you would go to, they’ve got the QR code from the NHS that you scan for your own safety.’

The UK has put in orders for early access to 357million doses of seven coronavirus vaccines. 

And on a visit to a pharmaceutical company yesterday Boris Johnson said it was possible that one of the jabs could be available ‘in a few weeks’.

The imminent prospect of a huge vaccination drive raises questions over whether those waiting for a jab – or refusing to have one – will enjoy fewer freedoms than those who have protection. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last night: ‘For a long time now we’ve been looking at the questions that Mr Zahawi was talking about and the question of what’s the impact on the individual in terms of what they can do.’

MPs will today give their verdict on the Prime Minister’s new coronavirus tiers. Although the plans are likely to pass, Mr Johnson is facing a revolt from Tories angry about the stringent restrictions.

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