Physicians’ leaders have welcomed moves to ease the workload of doctors GP-general practitioner allow them to focus on Covid increased jab deployment, but service warning is still under “significant” pressure.
Following the decision to strengthen the vaccination programme, NHS England has told GPs other targets may be suspended and that routine check-ups for over-75s and new patients may be be postponed.
This move comes after Government announced it is expanding the booster shot to all adults and cutting the time between the second and third doses by six to three months amid concerns about the spread of the new variant of Omicron.
Ministers have promised a “national mission” to make sure everyone who is eligible can get a reservation by the end of January, but have acknowledged that represents a “big demand”. for the NHS.
Dr Farah Jameel, chair of the BMA’s British GP committee, said reducing the number of “unnecessary” appointments would create some additional capacity, but individual practices would have to decide. to what extent they can switch to providing Covid shots.
She told BBC Radio 4 Today: “We’ve been grappling with prevailing workforce pressures – backlog pressures, winter pressures, pandemic pressures.
“While these changes make a difference and start to take a while, I think every practice will have to consider how long it takes to release.
“What it will do is free up staff time who are busy doing some of these marking exercises, so some of our staff can be redeployed to the vaccination effort. ”
On Friday, the UK’s Health Security Agency (HSA) said 75 more cases of the Omicron variant had been confirmed in the UK amid signs of “a small amount” of community transmission.
The latest cases bring the total for England to 104 and for the UK as a whole to 134 – including 29 in Scotland and the first confirmed case in Wales.
The HSA said in the UK that Omicron cases have now been identified in the East Midlands, East of England, London, North East, North West, South East, South West and West Midlands.
Individuals who test positive for the variant and their contacts are being asked to self-isolate while the HSA says it is conducting targeted testing at locations where positive cases are located. is considered to be infectious.
HSA CEO Dr. Jenny Harries “We are continuing to monitor the data closely. National and local teams are working hard to identify and trace all the close links of every Omicron case.
“We’ve started to see cases where there’s no link to travel, showing that we have a small amount of community transmission.”
The figures assessed by the risk assessment HSA rate the new Omicron variant as “red” for infection severity and “amber” for human-to-human transmission.
It said the variant, first identified in South Africa, is likely to reduce protection from both natural or vaccine-acquired immunity.
However, they acknowledge that to date there is “insufficient data” to draw firm conclusions and that the assessment is presented with “low confidence”.
Dr Harries said: “We are working as quickly as possible to gather more evidence of any impact the new variant may have on disease severity or vaccine effectiveness. ask for.
“Until we have this evidence, we must exercise the utmost caution in drawing conclusions about any significant risk to people’s health.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/gps-covid-jenny-harries-government-bma-b1969785.html General practitioners welcome cutting paperwork to focus on Covid-boosting jabs