GPs told to set up reserve lists for last-minute Covid jabs to avoid wasting vaccines

Lizzie Roberts
·2-min read
A patient gets their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine at a GP practice in Horsham, West Sussex - Christopher Pledger 
A patient gets their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine at a GP practice in Horsham, West Sussex - Christopher Pledger
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter

GPs should create reserve lists of patients who can attend vaccine appointments at short notice in order to avoid "wastage", according to leaked NHS guidance.

It comes after The Telegraph revealed last week that some GPs are being forced to throw away vaccines rather than giving patients their second dose.

Dr Brian McGregor, a GP who chairs the BMA's Yorkshire regional committee, said his local clinical commissioning group had been told by NHS England to dispose of unused doses rather than giving a second jab.

Leaked documents from NHS England, seen by Pulse, have instructed GPs to create reserve lists because they had "successfully ensured minimal wastage" at some vaccination sites.

The Government has announced that GPs can now move on to the next cohort of priority patients and begin vaccinating the over-70s and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

The guidance sent to vaccination sites says: "Local vaccination services, hospital hubs and vaccination centres have successfully ensured minimal wastage by using reserve lists who are willing to attend at short notice. We strongly recommend setting up a reserve list that can be invited at short notice."

It adds that local leaders can help sites to identify social care workers who could be added to their lists.

Dr Priyanand Hallan, a GP in Sandwell, in the West Midlands, said his practice had already been utlising reserve lists in case patients missed their vaccine appointments.

Dr Emily Ball, a GP in the North-West, said doctors were starting to formalise a reserve list of patients who could be called upon at the last minute but added: "The difficulty is how to do it without finding yourself fielding countless phone calls from people pleading their case."

An NHS England spokesman said: "There is absolutely no reason why vaccines should be wasted. Local vaccination sites should be managing their appointment lists to ensure all appointments are filled and they have a back-up list of patients and staff who can receive the vaccine at short notice."

In total, 4,062,501 people in the UK have now been given their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

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