In January, NHS England quadrupled the payments PCNs receive for the clinical director role via the network contract DES from 0.25 whole-time equivalent (WTE) to 1 WTE, in recognition of the expanded role they would play in the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
A letter o GP practices on 11 March setting out details of phase 2 of the vaccination programme confirmed the payment would be extended until the end of June 2021.
The payment is available to any PCN where at least one core network practice is signed up to the COVID-19 vaccination programme enhanced service.
COVID-19 vaccination phase 2
PCN sites have been given until the end of Friday 19 March to confirm whether they wish to take part in phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, where all under 50s will be vaccinated.
If they decide to opt out of the second phase, this will not affect other aspects of the enhanced service and they will still be expected to deliver second doses to those patients in cohorts 1 to 9 who they have already vaccinated.
An update to the enhanced service, published last week, said that practices that wished to continue to take part in the programme will need to provide a brief written statement to confirm they can 'fulfil the requirements of the 21/22 core primary medical services contract from April 2021'.
They will also need to set out in writing to commissioners details of extra staff brought in locally to support the vaccination programme, must have offered all patients in cohorts 1-9 a vaccination before starting the next three groups - and must demonstrate that they are capable of managing second-dose vaccinations for cohorts 1-9 on top of the extra work.
The enhanced service has also been updated so that PCN sites will be able to vaccinate PCNs will be able to vaccinate any patient from cohorts 10 to 12 – those aged 40-49, 30-39 and 18-29 – as they become eligible, regardless of whether or not they are patients of a member practice.
PCNs will also now be able to sign up to use the national booking service, which allows people to book their jab via the NHS app and a central phone hub. The service has so far been used for those booking appointments at mass vaccination and pharmacy sites.
However, the enhanced service says that if PCNs elect to use the service 'this must be the only booking system that the PCN grouping uses for new first dose appointments and corresponding second dose bookings'.
Vaccine supply is expected to significantly ramp up this week. Vaccination sites have been told that for the week beginning 15 March they should be prepared to deliver twice the level of vaccine that they were providing in the week beginning 1 March.