Updated COVID-19 enhanced service offers extra funding to vaccinate hard to reach groups

GP practices could be offered 'additional discretionary payments' to boost vaccine uptake in hard-to-reach patients, following an update to the COVID-19 enhanced service.

Under changes agreed with the BMA's GP committee, NHS England can choose to 'make additional discretionary payments available to GP practices to support the delivery of or incentivise vaccinations in particular seldom heard groups in exceptional circumstances'.

The updated enhanced service agreement also widens rules to allow primary care networks (PCNs) to vaccinate patients registered with a practice outside their network.

GP-led vaccination sites across England are currently focusing on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation's (JCVI's) cohort 6 - those aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions.

Read more
>
Map: COVID-19 jab uptake by CCG
>
GPonline COVID-19 vaccination tracker

This cohort includes patients with 'a severe and profound learning disability' as well as those with severe mental illness including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and 'any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment', according to NHS England.

Practices delivering vaccination in residential settings for patients in these categories will already be able to claim a £10 supplement on top of the basic £12.58 item of service fee per dose.

NHS England's latest primary care bulletin says: 'To reflect the additional supplements for vaccinations in care homes and other residential settings, we have included clarity on making additional discretionary payments available to GP practices.

'This is to support the delivery of or to incentivise vaccinations to under-represented groups in exceptional circumstances.'

GP funding

The update suggests practices may be able to claim additional funding to support vaccination within cohort 6 - but the enhanced service does not limit payments to those in this category.

Data on COVID-19 vaccine coverage across England show that in some areas - particularly in London - vaccination sites have struggled to achieve the near-total uptake seen in other parts of the country. Increased vaccine hesitancy in London's diverse population has been highlighted as a potential driver for the slower uptake.

A government document published on 22 February alongside plans to ease lockdown over the coming months makes clear: 'The government’s aim is to continue to see high uptake for both first and second doses through all age groups and for all communities so that no-one is left behind, and to increase protection of the population as a whole.

'There are early signs of lower vaccine uptake in lower income and some ethnic minority groups, which the government is taking steps to address. Surveys have found that there is higher vaccine hesitancy in some black and Asian communities, hence the need to encourage uptake in these groups specifically.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Chancellor's 'unfair tax on doctors' could drive 72% into early retirement, BMA warns

Chancellor's 'unfair tax on doctors' could drive 72% into early retirement, BMA warns

A five-year freeze on the pensions lifetime allowance in the government's 2021 budget...

Doctors warn of 'massive impact' on workforce as Sunak freezes pension lifetime allowance

Doctors warn of 'massive impact' on workforce as Sunak freezes pension lifetime allowance

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed a five-year freeze on the pension lifetime allowance...

Hancock praises 'monumental effort' from GPs during COVID-19 pandemic

Hancock praises 'monumental effort' from GPs during COVID-19 pandemic

Health secretary Matt Hancock has thanked GPs for their ‘monumental effort’ in delivering...

Vaccine supply could hit record level from 15 March as campaign ramps up

Vaccine supply could hit record level from 15 March as campaign ramps up

Deliveries of COVID-19 vaccine are set to double from 15 March compared with supplies...

£20,000 'golden hello' scheme for GP practice partners widened

£20,000 'golden hello' scheme for GP practice partners widened

A scheme offering £20,000 golden hellos to first-time partners in GP practices in...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...