Publications approval reference: 001559 / C1019
- CCG Accountable Officers and Clinical Leads
- All General Practices in England
- Regional Directors of Primary Care and Public Health
31 December 2020
As you know, the MHRA, JCVI and Chief Medical Officers announced yesterday that it would be reasonable to extend the gap between the first and second doses of the available COVID vaccines, originally set at three weeks for Pfizer/BioNTech, in order to offer vaccine to more people in the priority JCVI cohorts. This means that the system will now be delaying second doses and cancelling large numbers of appointments next week onwards.
It is recognised that the implementation of this public health decision, while critical to protect health for more of our patients, has significant administrative implications for PCN sites across England which will have existing bookings.
We now need to take action to support this activity as a system in the following ways:
- We are asking all CCGs to marshal and offer all possible support to PCNs in this task.
- A patient letter and script have been produced to support these challenging conversations. We will do all we can to support public messaging. If you are not a member of the PCN workspace, please contact P_C_Nfirstname.lastname@example.org.
- We have announced a payment of £1000 that can be made to all PCN sites that will need to undertake this process. The payment will be made by NHS England and NHS Improvement following CCG confirmation of which sites are undertaking the rebooking process.
- Acting on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement, North of England CSU (NECS) is standing up a call centre which can be used to contact patients to postpone appointments. CCGs should contact email@example.com with details of any site that wishes to take up this offer which will be free of charge and in place to start from 1 January 2021. Call handlers will operate from a core script and FAQs, and PCN sites will receive confirmation once cancellations are confirmed with their patients. PCN sites will still need to contact and book in new patients for clinics next week.
Separately, to recognise that a delayed second dose will also delay payment to an unreasonable extent under the terms of the current Enhanced Service, we have agreed with the BMA an amendment to offer payment for each dose instead.
We understand that this remains an incredibly busy time for all and want to thank you for all of your work over 2020.
Ed Waller | Director of Primary Care
Dr Nikita Kanani MBE | Medical Director for Primary Care