GPs to deliver two-dose COVID-19 vaccination at £12.58 per jab seven days a week

GPs across England will have until 13 November to nominate a practice in each primary care network (PCN) area to lead a COVID-19 vaccination programme that could start from 1 December and operate seven days a week, draft details of an enhanced service reveal.

COVID-19 vaccine (Photo: Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images)
COVID-19 vaccine (Photo: Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images)

Details of a draft COVID-19 vaccination enhanced service sent to senior GPs, seen by GPonline, reveal that practices will be paid £12.58 per vaccination.

Practices will be told to plan 'on the assumption that two doses of COVID-19 vaccinations will need to be administered to each patient' - meaning they could receive £25.16 per patient in total.

The document also highlights 'an additional £150m non-recurrent funding to expand general practice capacity between now and March 2021' and acknowledges that practices may need to 'prioritise clinical activity' to take on the extra work involved in a COVID vaccination programme.

COVID-19 vaccination

GPs will need to 'collectively nominate a single site per PCN from which to deliver the vaccinations', the draft document confirms - suggesting around one in five GP practices in England will be selected to administer the vaccine.

Practices need to be nominated by 13 November and could be provisionally confirmed by commissioners as soon as 16 November, with a final enhanced service specification to be in place potentially from 23 November. 

PCNs covering populations of more than 100,000 patients may be able to select more than one location to deliver jabs - and NHS England expects the number of sites involved to expand over time.

Sites chosen to deliver the vaccine will need to operate the vaccination service 'seven days per week including bank holidays between 8am and 8pm if vaccine supply allows', the draft specification confirms.

Seven-day service

Guidance is expected 'shortly' on how doses can be ordered - but GPs will be expected 'to deliver a minimum of 975 vaccinations over a seven-day period from each designated site'.

The draft document says that in addition to planning for two doses per patient - with confirmation to come from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) - primary care teams will need to factor in a potential observation period of 15 minutes per patient post-vaccination.

It says priority cohorts of patients will be identified in due course based on JCVI advice, but points out that 'general practice will have a particularly important role to play in contributing to administering vaccinations to at risk patients, care home residents and staff, those aged 50 and older as well as general practice staff and care home staff workers'.

A national call-recall system will be in operation, with practices expected to run their own system in parallel.

Booking vaccination

The draft specification says: 'Once patients are notified they are eligible for a vaccination, patients would have the choice to book an appointment at a general practice designated site or use the National Booking Service to be vaccinated at another vaccination centre.'

Practices will need to staff the operation themselves, but additional volunteers 'may be available' to support the process, with all staff required to complete training led by Public Health England and Health Education England.

The draft document says: 'We have agreed with the BMA GP committee that the Item of Service fee will be £12.58 per vaccination, which is 25% more than the current fee for service for an influenza vaccination, at £10.06.

'This additional 25% payment recognises the extended requirements around the COVID-19 vaccination, including training, the need for post-vaccine observation and any associated costs thereafter.

'The Item of Service fee will be paid on completion of the final dose (i.e., £25.16 if the vaccination requires two doses) unless in exceptional circumstances the final dose cannot be administered e.g because of intolerance/clinical agreement.'

GPonline reported earlier this week that although NHS England aimed to have a deal in place for delivery of a vaccine by early December, officials expect a vaccine is more likely to be ready from early next year.

The draft document confirms that 'several potential vaccines for COVID-19 are in the latter stages of phase III trials' and says that once one is ready and approved 'the country will be relying on the NHS to be ready to start immediate vaccination, fully deploying whatever scale of supply may be available, with zero delay'.

GPs are expected to receive full details of the enhanced service specification - which will sit outside the PCN DES - on 6 November.

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