A majority of GPs have said they do not think they should be the ‘main providers’ of Covid vaccinations, a new survey has revealed. 

The research – conducted by The Pharmacist’s sister publication Pulse – which surveyed 761 GPs in England, revealed that 53% believe GPs should not be the main providers of Covid vaccination

Less than a third (29%) of respondents said they should, while the remainder (18%) said they didn’t know. 

Some of the respondents suggested that pharmacy-led sites and mass vaccination centres should instead take the prominent role in vaccinating going forward to help reduce GP workload.  

GP partner, Kathryn Thompson, said that services in her practice were ‘already under pressure’ and ‘without enough access to locums’ GPs need to ‘focus on patient care instead of vaccinations’.  

Dr Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies (AIMp) welcomed the suggestion of pharmacists offering more Covid vaccines.  

‘AIMp has been pushing for the vaccination service to become the domain of community pharmacy since the start of the vaccination programme so that GPs can focus on handlining the backlog of patients caused by the pandemic’, she explained.  

NHS England recently hinted that pharmacies sites could be more involved in the spring Covid booster jab programme as PCN groups are ‘not expected’ to be the ‘primary delivery model’

‘We’re perfectly placed to deliver more vaccines and pharmacy teams have already shown that they are keen and more than capable,’ she added.  

In January, The Pharmacist reported that pharmacy-led vaccine sites across England have delivered one-third of all booster vaccines

However, for this to be feasible, pharmacy teams must be ‘supplemented in terms of remuneration’ and must be ‘involved in the programme decision-making process so things are not just landed on us last minute’, Dr Hannbeck added.  

Meanwhile, the National Audit Office (NAO) has found that Covid jabs delivered at pharmacy-led vaccine sites and GP practices are better valued for money than mass vaccination centres

The health secretary Sajid Javid has said a ‘national vaccination service’ is required to ensure GPs are not asked to stop routine care again