NHS Leaders have yet to be told how the government expects them to manage the expansion of its booster vaccination campaign, nearly a week after the government indicated the move was aimed at tens of millions of people.
Last weekend, following the arrival of the new omicron variant, the government said the boost program – at the time only available to people over 40 – would soon be expanded and on Tuesday confirmed that all people over 18 years old will be provided third stab at the end of January.
Healthcare leaders have since raised concerns about whether they will be able to meet the deadline, which would increase from 2.5 million puffs per week to 3.5 million and remain maintain routine NHS care.
On Friday, when asked when people will find out how and when they can book flights, an official spokesman for Boris Johnson said: “Guidelines will be out soon,” adding that he doesn’t know “when exactly it will be”.
The government is currently in talks with GP leaders about whether they can cut contracts to cut some of their workload.
Wes Streeting, Labour’s shadow health secretary, said he was concerned that the plan to boost health had yet to emerge – despite the prime minister having set his ambitious target.
“Ministers need to know the booster vaccination program. “It is imperative that the government achieve its goal of providing all adults with booster vaccinations by the end of January and increasing immunization rates for children,” he said.
A senior director of the NHS in the West Midlands said: “It’s actually a bit of a problem to say they’re going to stage the show. There’s a lot of buzz and we don’t know where it’s really going in terms of the vaccination program and how it’s going to be delivered.
“For each of these stages, we will find a solution on how to get Vaccine to the people, but the way the government is doing has been stolen.
“They have been very negative about GPs over the past few months, especially around direct contact, and now they want them to massively scale up vaccines. You feel that sometimes the left hand is like not talking to the right hand. It causes a lot of work locally to deal with these problems and try to come up with sensible plans. ”
They said the vaccine announcement was “a bit of a surprise to everyone” and added, “there’s a lot of things driven by Number 10. It feels like decision-making is happening in NHS England. “.
Another clinical director said: “A lot of us are working very, very hard to get it but we have no news.” And one health care leader in the North West said “we’re meeting with local GPs and community groups about what they can do but we don’t have anything concrete at the moment.” around agreeing any services will not be continued, but I guess the plan is in the early stages.”
Dr Vishal Sharma, co-chair of the British Medical Association’s advisory committee, said: “The NHS is currently dealing with a record backlog, with millions of patients suffering as a result of these delays. While the staff is under strain, the reality is that the health service has an under-resourced workforce. “
“It is vital that the government supports the NHS as much as possible to ensure that the ramp-up program can be implemented without a detrimental impact on the delivery of critical care to patients who are not part of the NHS. Covid.
“As the BMA puts it in its report It’s stormy, the NHS will not get through this winter or restore elective services without a healthy, happy and well-treated workforce. This should be the government’s priority right now.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/covid-omicron-booster-jab-plan-b1969083.html ‘We don’t have the news’: NHS leaders in the dark over government’s ramped-up rollout plan