NHS leaders have still not been told how the government expects them to manage a major expansion of the booster vaccine campaign, nearly a week after the government signaled a move to lock down millions.
Late last week, following the emergence of the new Omron version, the government indicated that the booster program – only available to people over 40 at the time – would soon be expanded, and confirmed on Tuesday that all 18 More people will be offered the third jab. end of January.
Healthcare leaders have since raised concerns over whether they will be able to meet this deadline, which means going from 2.5 million to 3.5 million a week, and still maintain routine NHS care.
On Friday, asked when people would know how and when they could book their pockets, Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The guidance will be determined shortly,” adding that he did not know. “When exactly will this happen”.
The government is currently in talks with GP leaders to see if they can pitch contracts to ease their workload.
Labour’s shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, said he was concerned that the booster jabs plan had not yet surfaced – despite the prime minister setting his own ambitious target.
“Ministers need to get a hold of the booster vaccination programme. It is imperative that the government meet its target of offering booster vaccination to all adults by the end of January and increasing the vaccination rate of children,” he said.
A senior NHS director in the West Midlands said: “It’s really an issue, saying they’re going to go ahead with the programme. It’s a lot in terms of the vaccination program and we don’t know if it’s really going to happen.” Where will it land and how will it be distributed?
“As is the case with every phase of this, we will find a solution on how to get the vaccine to the people, but the way the government is doing it has been shut down.
“They have been very negative about GPs over the past few months, especially around face-to-face contact and now they want to ramp up vaccines in a big way. You sometimes feel that the left hand is not talking to the right hand. It takes a lot of work at the local level to work through these issues and try to come up with sensible plans. ,
He said the vaccine announcement was “a surprise to everyone” and added, “There are a lot of things driven by No. 10. It doesn’t look like the decision is being made in NHS England.”
Another clinical director said: “Many of us are trying very hard to deliver this, but we have no news.” And a healthcare leader in North West said, “We’re meeting with local GPs and community teams to see what they can do, but we haven’t found anything specific at the minute to agree any service, But I think the plan is at an early stage.”
Dr Vishal Sharma, co-chair of the British Medical Association’s advisory committee, said: “The NHS is currently dealing with a record-breaking backlog, with millions of patients suffering due to delays. While staff are working flat, the reality is That there are under-resourced workforces in healthcare.”
“It is important that the government supports the NHS as much as possible to ensure that non-Covid patients are given a booster program without having a detrimental effect on providing critical care.
“As stated by the BMA in its report storm weatheringThe NHS will not make it through this winter or recover alternative services without healthy, happy and well behaved staff. Right now it should be the priority of the government.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /