In a letter from NHS England medical director of primary care Dr Nikki Kanani, GPs have been told they should aim to complete vaccination of all care home residents by 24 January - a week earlier than the previous target set by the government.
Instead of the £10-per-dose top up payment promised at the end of December for each vaccination delivered in a care home, PCNs will now be paid £30 if the jab is administered this week - with the fee dropping to £20 in the week beginning 18 January.
This fee will be paid to GPs operating in PCNs on top of the basic £12.58 item of service fee for COVID vaccinations.
Care home vaccination
The letter to practices warns that doses of vaccine supplied to vaccination sites 'should only be used to deliver first doses'. GPonline reported today that around one in four vaccines administered since the NHS asked for all available vaccine to be used in this way had been second doses.
The letter confirms that the health service is 'expecting all PCN local vaccination services to administer the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to care home residents and staff in the older adult care homes for which the PCN is responsible by the end of this week wherever possible and, at the latest, by the end of next week (Sunday 24 January)'.
It adds: 'In order to meet this timeline, this letter is formal notification that you may need to operate in line with the maximum hours stipulated in the enhanced services specification, 8am to 8pm, seven days per week and you should approach your CCG for any support required.'
The letter sets out the following payment categories for COVID-19 vaccination delivered to care homes:
- £30 for first doses administered Monday 14 December - Sunday 17 January.
- £20 for first doses administered Monday 18 - Sunday 24 January.
- £10 for first doses administered Monday 25 - Sunday 31 January.
- £10 for all second doses administered.
NHS England also highlighted an update to the IT system used by vaccination sites 'to include additional fields relating to the collection of care home data to support the payment of the £10-30 care home supplement'.
Officials have promised an update shortly on how the payment process will work for retrospective data for care home vaccinations administered at the end of 2020, but says that 'Pinnacle's advice at the current time is for PCN sites not to retrospectively adjust records'.
NHS England has also said that PCNs will be able to claim up to £950 per week to bring in extra staff to ensure their records for vaccination of priority groups are up to date.
The letter added that for the 'small number of PCNs with lead responsibility for care homes which have chosen not to sign up to the enhanced service, as well as some PCN sites that are not due to come on stream until the week commencing 18 January', commissioning organisations should 'co-ordinate mutual aid' arrangements with other networks to ensure coverage of care home staff and residents in those areas.
In some cases, where there are 'significant gaps in their projected care home vaccination coverage', areas could be able to bring in military support.