For urgent action: releasing staff for vaccination sites

Dear all,

Thank you; and plans to release staff for vaccination duties

Firstly, I want to thank you for all your hard work, commitment to your patients, and support for each other over recent weeks in particular as demand for primary care services has continued to rise.

You will have seen yesterday that the government has announced a large-scale expansion of the Covid-19 vaccine booster programme in response to concerns about the Omicron variant. Everyone aged 18+ who had their 2nd vaccine at least 3 months ago is now eligible for a booster (NBS won't open to the lowest cohorts until Wednesday 15 Dec but they are still eligible from today). 

We will need to release primary care staff from across north east London (NEL) into local vaccination sites to support the delivery of this huge ask. There are now significant concerns about the impact of this new variant on hospital admissions and its potential to overwhelm the NHS; and there is pressure (and demand) to provide as many booster vaccinations as possible over the coming weeks. This means we need to look at re-prioritisation of some of our workloads.

In NEL we already have an excellent coverage of vaccination sites that offer good accessibility. We now need to increase capacity at these existing sites by: redeploying CCG, trust and primary care staff, use of military services, and increasing support from local councils.

We have already received confirmation from NHS England on income protection to enable the release of staff into vaccination sites and we expect a letter today that substantially extends the areas of primary care that can be deferred or stood down.

We are already working with community pharmacies and trusts to identify and secure additional capacity and we are now asking you, and all practices, to review your capacity and to release workforce into the local vaccination site programme, in line with the national guidance, to respond to expected increases in demand from this week. This will ensure we are able to deliver the optimal level of capacity needed to meet the demand. 

Please could practices work within their primary care networks or other appropriate groupings to extend the vaccine capacity (increasing the number of vaccination pods at sites and the number of days sites are open, and lengthening opening times).

We are also asking practices to support the need to vaccinate housebound and inclusion groups as a priority within this programme.

Thank you again for all your hard work.

NHS North East London Clinical Commissioning Group


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