Senior GPs have warned that the huge numbers of colleagues in primary and secondary care taking sick leave may hamper NHS capacity during the Covid-19 vaccine campaign, newspapers report.
According to The Observer, BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul wrote in a letter to members: “There are over 46,000 hospital staff off sick with Covid-19, heaping additional pressure on an already overstretched workforce struggling to manage even current critical care demand.”
“It is only if the NHS workforce is kept fit and well that we will be able to meet the unprecedented surge in demand that the coming weeks and months will bring as well as delivering the vaccine programme that remains our only hope to end this dreadful pandemic.”
RCGP chair Dr Martin Marshall warned that although there were enough staff in now to deliver the vaccine, he predicted that capacity would fall short within a fortnight.
He said: “We certainly haven’t got enough staff to deliver a much larger programme in two or three weeks’ time, while at the same time as continuing to deliver the flu vaccination programme and delivering normal business in general practice as well.”
NASGP chair Dr Richard Fieldhouse said “It’s highly likely locums will get asked to work at very short notice to backfill other GPs who’re being deployed to vaccinations clinics.
“The NASGP strongly recommends all locums to book an appointment this week to get vaccinated at the surgery with which they’re registered as a patient.”