Practice pharmacists to be freed up for Covid jabs

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Practice pharmacists to be freed up for Covid jabs

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Pharmacists working in general practice are likely to find themselves deployed as part of the workforce that will vaccinate the population against the coronavirus, according to the November 12 primary care briefing from NHS England & Improvement. 

In a note to primary care networks (PCNs) about the network contract directed enhanced services, NHSE & I says that while the number of structured medication reviews (SMRs) will be limited by PCN clinical pharmacist capacity, "depending on local clinical prioritisation, it is likely to be the case that Covid vaccination is considered a priority for deploying available clinical pharmacists in the short term."

The latest primary care briefing from medical director for primary care Dr Nikki Kanani and director for primary care Ed Waller details major reprioritisation of primary care in preparation for Covid-19 vaccination. This includes:

  • The availability of £150m of reprioritised capacity funding ring-fenced to support general practice to deliver (which is "not to be diverted by systems for wider purposes")
  • The re-purposing, by agreement with CCGs, local enhanced services to make funded capacity available for Covid-19 vaccination
  • Reprioritisation of extended access and hours capacity to provide additional capacity
  • Continuing to approach the management of long term conditions on the basis of clinical prioritisation 
  • The revision of the quality improvement modules within the Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) to support essential activity
  • Deployment of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) staff, which can include clinical pharmacists, as required to vaccination. 

Further information will follow "in due course" about how PCNs can access further support from local systems to bring in additional workforce to support the Covid-19 vaccination programme, the note continues.

In a separate letter to general practice on November 9, Dr Kanani and Mr Waller said participating practices will need to work collaboratively with other practices to deliver vaccinations in PCN groupings. At least one site is likely to be designated initially per PCN grouping, with those sites needing to "collaborate with other community vaccination providers, as part of a co-ordinated local approach".

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