Telford GPs voice disappointment at reading vaccine news in media first

Doctors in Telford were “disappointed” that, during the first month of the coronavirus vaccination programme, their practices received “a lot” of information second-hand from the media and politicians’ online posts, a report says.

The paper will be discussed at a meeting of health bosses next week
The paper will be discussed at a meeting of health bosses next week

The Telford and Wrekin Practice Forum heard that NHS commissioners were also “extremely frustrated” at central government’s “tight control” of information, not allowing local NHS bodies to publish their own statistics or plans.

Forum chairman Ian Chan’s report on the meeting, which took place on January 19, will be discussed by the Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body next week.

NHS England now publishes a weekly breakdown of first and second dose numbers by CCG area. The most recent figures show that 48,940 vaccination jabs have been given in Telford and Wrekin and 110,627 in Shropshire.

Dr Chan writes that David Evans, – the accountable officer for both areas’ CCGs, “thanked GP practices for the huge efforts they were making at what was an incredible difficult time in relation to Covid and acknowledged the additional pressures within primary care”.

In a section of the report on Covid-19 and the vaccination programme, Dr Chan writes: “It was noted that a lot of information GP practices received was from the media and politicians’ Facebook pages, which was disappointing.”

CCG Partnerships Director Claire Parker said “it was the same for commissioners, which they found to be extremely frustrating”, Dr Chan adds.

“Mrs Parker went on to say the announcement in relation to the delaying of the second vaccination had been received via the media,” he writes, adding that Mr Evans said policy changes were made “extremely quickly” and were notified “at the last minute”.

Disclose

Dr Chan writes: “Mr Evans said that it was frustrating that the messaging around the vaccination programme was being controlled centrally; CCGs are not allowed to disclose the number of vaccinations that had taken place or the sites coming on-stream and, given the level of anxiety amongst the population, both nationally and locally, it was not clear why the information was being so tightly controlled.”

Since the beginning of 2021, NHS England has provided daily and weekly breakdowns of the cumulative totals of first and second coronavirus vaccination doses.

The daily data is broken down between seven regions of England. The weekly data also contains statistics for patient ethnicity, vulnerability category and location, including CCG area.

As of Thursday, February 25, 48,589 first and 351 second doses has been administered in Telford and Wrekin, and 108,002 first and 2,625 second jabs had been given in Shropshire.

Government advice, published on December 30, 2020, said, while second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine could be given three weeks after the first and the second AstraZeneca jab could be given after four weeks, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation had recommended “as many people on the priority list as possible should sequentially be offered a first vaccine dose as the initial priority”.

“Operationally this will mean that second doses of both vaccines will be administered towards the end of the recommended vaccine dosing schedule of 12 weeks,” it added.

“This will maximise the number of people getting vaccine and therefore receiving protection in the next 12 weeks.”

The joint governing body of Telford and Wrekin CCG and Shropshire CCG will meet on Wednesday, March 10.

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