GP locums are eligible for free flu jabs at GP practices according to the new DES, Pulse reports.
In July, the Government announced that this year the NHS would run its biggest ever campaign against seasonal flu. The new campaign includes expanded lists of groups eligible for the jab, likely to require much larger flu clinics at GP surgeries this autumn and winter.
The direct enhanced service for 2020/21, agreed by NHS England and the BMA’s GP Committee, specifies that: “Where locum GPs wish to be vaccinated, they should be vaccinated by their own GP.”
Salaried GPs, authors add, ‘are the responsibility of their employer as part of occupational health arrangements’.
This year’s campaign is the biggest to date, and aims to vaccinate 75% of the ‘at-risk’ group of patients. Children up to Year 7 will also be vaccinated.
GP locums and other cohorts are expected to get jabs by the end of November. Authors also advise that the programme may be extended to 50-64 year-olds in November, and that there may be ‘additional advice’ from Public Health England ‘if there are issues with vaccine supply’.
Last week Pulse reported that the Government announced that “non-healthcare workers” including midwives and paramedics would be recruited to deliver flu vaccines.
Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, commented: ““Having initially overlooked GP locums at the beginning of this pandemic by calling up recently retired ex-GPs, it’s very heartening that NHS England have been more cognisant of us recently, and we very much hope our ex-GP colleagues are not excluded from the programme.
“We still have concerns though that this immunisation programme is going to be under-resourced, not only in terms of the DES only paying out the same as last year, despite the fact that cases are currently doubling, but also because supply of PPE is still limited and services like Test & Trace and the CCAS 111 are still struggling with demand.”