BMA raises ‘serious concerns’ about GP workload and funding for autumn COVID boosters

The BMA has urged NHS England to revert to earlier ranges of fee per jab for practices this autumn, somewhat than ‘making an attempt to ship a booster programme on a budget’.

For this subsequent stage of the vaccination programme practices will obtain the usual £10.06 merchandise of service price for a vaccination, whereas in earlier phases they obtained £12.58 per jab. They may nonetheless obtain an extra £10 per jab for housebound sufferers.

Nevertheless the BMA mentioned rising power prices and storage necessities for the brand new Moderna vaccine, which the JCVI has advisable to be used within the booster programme, will add extra prices to PCN vaccine hubs that had not been budgeted for.

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COVID-19 boosters

BMA GP committee scientific and prescribing coverage lead Dr Preeti Shukla mentioned the booster programme was important to forestall one other COVID-19 outbreak this winter and that the brand new vaccine was ‘nice information’ within the battle in opposition to the virus.

Nevertheless, she mentioned: ‘With the present well-documented pressures on GP practices and the discount within the funding for supply of those vaccines, we’ve critical issues in regards to the rollout.

‘Fee to GPs for supply of vaccines has dropped 20% since final 12 months’s rollout whereas the prices for GP practices have solely rocketed within the meantime.

‘This vaccine would require freezing and refrigerating, an ever dearer operation as power prices rise. The brand new Moderna vaccine solely strengthens the case for returning funds to final 12 months’s degree somewhat than making an attempt to ship a booster programme on a budget.’

Dr Shukla added: ‘GP practices, whereas glad to listen to of a brand new vaccine so as to add to their arsenal, will however be questioning if the numbers add up as they face a troublesome autumn and winter.’

Workload pressures

Final week Londonwide LMCs raised issues in regards to the means of practices within the capital to ship the flu and COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, alongside a polio booster programme for youngsters aged 1-9, in addition to managing routine care.

The BMA has additionally beforehand warned that the final minute choice to supply autumn COVID-19 booster and flu jabs to all over-50s would pile unfair strain on GP practices and will trigger ‘extreme issues’ for already over-stretched practices.

In the meantime, this week the RCGP mentioned that practices want ‘pressing assist’ forward of what’s prone to be ‘a really powerful’ winter. It mentioned measures set out in NHS England’s winter plan, which embody the promise of an extra 1,000 social prescribing hyperlink staff and well being and wellbeing coaches and 1,000 extra care coordinators to assist practices, don’t go far sufficient to assist GPs.

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