NHS England will launch 12 ‘demonstrator sites’ to test new models for delivering vaccinations, including health visitors taking on catch-up jabs for children.
This builds on the national vaccination strategy, outlined at the end of last year, which signalled a possible end to the current GP practice enhanced services and QOF targets, with integrated care boards (ICBs) set to take over population-level management.
The 12 sites, which will launch next month, will be testing ‘new and innovative’ models to deliver vaccines, NHS England said, exploring ‘more flexible approaches’ to improving uptake led by ICBs.
‘Specific areas that demonstrators will look to test include using health visitors to perform catch-ups with children; running MMR pop-up clinics in university spaces; and increasing uptake by people with complex needs, such as learning disabilities,’ according to a slide presented at an NHS England webinar directed to GPs last week.
Our sister title Pulse has asked NHS England to provide more information about the pilots including what they will test and where they will be located, however the commissioner declined to provide this.
An NHS England spokesperson told Pulse: ‘As outlined in the NHS vaccine strategy, we are working with demonstrator systems across the country who are going further, faster to support access and uptake in innovative ways, and we will be promoting their learning and good practice to support all other systems.’
NHS England has previously said that some of the actions included in the vaccination strategy will begin to be implemented in 2023/24, with ‘as many changes as possible’ to be brought in from 2024/25 and most of the proposals set to be delivered by 2026.
The news comes after a survey of health visitors revealed capacity problems among the workforce, with closer GP alignment put forward as one of the potential solutions.
Meanwhile, a House of Lords select committee recently reported that health visitors are ‘progressively being separated from general practice’ and called for an exploration of different ownership models for GP practices to ‘facilitate more joined-up and better care’.