Further funding and support for PCN and Community Pharmacy-led COVID-19 vaccination sites
Publications approval reference: C1316
- All practices
- Community Pharmacy led COVID-19 vaccination sites
- ICS and STP leads
- All CCG Accountable Officers and Clinical Leads
- NHS Regional Directors
- NHS Regional Directors of Commissioning
10 June 2021
PCN and Community Pharmacy-led COVID-19 vaccination sites have played a vital role in the administration of over 58 million COVID-19 vaccinations to date. We are incredibly grateful for all you have done to support the programme.
It is vital over the coming weeks that we continue to deliver second doses for cohorts 1-9 in line with the accelerated JCVI guidance, and first doses for remaining adult cohorts as quickly as supply allows so as to mitigate the risks of variants. We recognise that many primary care staff have faced a long and challenging year, and that additional capacity is key to support providers to deliver the COVID-19 vaccinations alongside core primary care services and recovery.
This letter therefore outlines further actions we are taking to support PCN and Community Pharmacy-led vaccination sites to continue to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations. This is in the wider context of general practice being busier than ever before.
1. We will provide an additional £20 million to ICS/STPs to support primary care providers to draw down additional staff through their lead employer to help deliver the COVID-19 vaccination programme between 16 June and 14 July 2021.
Each ICS/STP has been allocated a proportion of the £20 million funding – see Annex A for the breakdown. ICS/STPs will directly reimburse lead employers for additional staff drawn down by community pharmacy-led COVID-19 vaccination sites and PCN-led sites (that are delivering vaccinations to cohorts 10-12) between 16 June and 14 July up to the maximum amounts outlined. The funding has been allocated on the basis of site numbers to provide an average of seven additional staff (including some from the volunteer bank) for the four week period covering a range of roles depending on need. The intention is for the additional staffing to be made available in the 4 week period outlined. However, if that is not fully possible for logistical reasons, this should be discussed with the ICS and an alternative arrangement agreed in advance with the regional team.
This will bring in extra workforce to support the recovery of NHS services and another busy and crucial period for the COVID-19 vaccination deployment programme. This funding is ringfenced to provide additional workforce capacity to local vaccination services and cannot be used for other purposes.
Over 100,000 experienced and trained staff (both clinical and non-clinical) as well as volunteers are ready to help with vaccination delivery and workforce resilience. All staff have been fully vetted and trained and are available from NHS Professionals, NHS Volunteer Responders and St John Ambulance for deployment across the country.ICSs are asked to work with their PCNs, Community Pharmacy-led vaccination sites and their lead employer to ensure this funding is deployed where it is most needed to increase uptake and tackle health inequalities.
Lead employers can assist with the provision of different types of roles such as registered healthcare professionals and unregistered vaccinators. These may be people that have been recruited through local recruitment activities or drawn down from the national workforce suppliers.
Accessing this additional support is contingent on:
- Providers administering all COVID-19 vaccines delivered to them within a week of the vaccines being delivered
- PCNs bringing forward second dose appointments where necessary in line with JCVI guidance
- Community Pharmacy-led vaccination sites ensuring as many second dose slots as possible are opened up to enable citizens to rebook in line with JCVI guidelines.
To achieve the maximum benefit of this draw down support, we are encouraging all services to consider implementing the national protocol as the mechanism for delivering vaccines. Protocols have been updated to allow non-registered vaccinators with experience to be deployed to administer the COVID-19 vaccinations, provided they are appropriately trained and working under clinical supervision.
Guidance on accessing workforce supply can be found on NHS Futures: https://future.nhs.uk/CovidVaccinations/view?objectId=100783781
Where local vaccination services are experiencing issues with their lead employer they can contact the national primary care workforce interface team for support at: PCNCP.email@example.com.
2. We are asking CCGs and ICSs to offer all possible support to primary care to bring forward second dose appointments in line with JCVI guidance. We recognise that rescheduling clinics takes significant time and resource particularly for administrative staff. Further to our announcement on 20 May that PCNs can claim an additional £1,000 for rescheduling appointments in line with JVCI’s guidance (https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2021/05/C1295-further-details-on-the-support-available-for-pcn-led-sites.pdf), we are also asking CCGs and systems to consider if they could deploy any administrative staff to support PCNs that are still needing to reschedule appointments. CCGs and systems are also asked to consider supporting Community Pharmacies to bring forward appointments and maximise second dose appointments on the National Booking System.
3. We are asking CCGs to seek to minimise any burden associated with locally commissioned services at this time where these do not support COVID-19 vaccination, COVID-19 related activities or recovery activities.
4. We are moving to a new allocations timetable to give vaccination providers earlier notice of vaccine supply. Currently, final vaccine schedules are issued 10 days in advance of the start of each vaccination week. As supply predictability has improved, going forward sites will be provided with the final weekly vaccine schedule 17 days prior to the start of the vaccination week. This should give sites more time to plan workforce and enable patients to book appointments further ahead than has been previously possible.
With our appreciation and thanks for everything you are doing.
Dr Nikita Kanani | Medical Director for Primary Care | NHS England and NHS Improvement
Ed Waller | Director of Primary Care | NHS England and NHS Improvement
Caroline Temmink | Director of Primary Care Vaccinations | NHS England and NHS Improvement
Annex A: Funding allocations by ICS/STP