Retired medics returning to help with Covid vaccine now face less bureaucracy, NHS England has confirmed, following widespread criticism over the paperwork they had to fill out.
Returning medics will now be asked to meet only 13 modules, after six were removed from the process.
Those forms cut include proof of training in conflict resolution, equality and diversity, fire safety and preventing radicalisation, according to NHS England.
Those returning will still be asked to complete modules on managing anaphylaxis, vaccine administration and storage and data security, among others.
Laim Fox, MP and non-practising doctor, asked a question in a Commons debate on 6 January about the bureaucracy facing medics trying to return to help with the Covid vaccine. Prime Minister Boris Johnson answered: ‘I am assured by my right hon friend, the health secretary, that all such obstacles and all such pointless pettifoggery has been removed.’
Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, previously called for a cut in red-tape, and told Nursing in Practice‘s stablemate publication Management in Practice: ‘With infections and hospitalisations now at record levels, and lives and livelihoods at risk, we cannot afford any unnecessary delays in getting people vaccinated.
‘While it’s essential that proper checks are in place, the current process for approving retired GPs who want to help out is too cumbersome and must be streamlined.’
Professor Martin Marshall, Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) chair, said in a statement on 6 January that there was ‘an army of retired medics’ waiting to help [with Covid vaccinations], but we needed to ‘allow them to do so’ and ‘keep bureaucratic barriers to this to the bare minimum’.
He added: ‘Requiring people to submit more than 20 pieces of documentation, some of which have low relevance to the task they will be doing, and some of which some retired medics and returners to the profession won’t even have, is a deterrent for them getting involved at a time when we need all hands on deck.’
Guidance on the Public Health England website – published on 8 December – states that registered healthcare practitioners returning to help after a prolonged period will require specific training about the Covid-19 vaccine, and recommended extra training on the administration, storage and legal aspects of the vaccination programme.
Modules retired medics must do (with PHE, MHRA and DHSC):
Covid-19 knowledge for vaccinators
Covid mRNA Vaccine / AZ Vaccine
Experience based decision (self-certification sign off on application)
Resuscitation level 2 (prior certification)
Health and safety (prior experience)
Infection prevention and control (revise/F2F)
Safeguarding adults – level 1, if required
Passport or proof of right to work
Verification of professional registration online
Moving and handling
Equality and diversity
Safeguarding children – level 1