Pharmacy-led vaccination sites will receive an additional £10 for every housebound patient they vaccinate against Covid-19, NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) has said.
The incentive has been announced a week before the Government’s deadline to vaccinate everyone in the top four priority groups against Covid-19 – 15 February.
In a letter sent to community pharmacy-led local vaccination sites last week (4 February), NHS directors said the additional supplement is on top of the £12.58 item of service fee and also applies retrospectively to any vaccinations which have already been administered to people at home.
The letter said that if GPs or pharmacists vaccinate a housebound patient at the same time as vaccinating other eligible members of the household, ‘only one £10 supplement per visit can be claimed’.
It added: ‘The £10 supplement applies retrospectively to any first dose vaccinations that have taken place since 14 December in line with the above criteria, and will also apply to second dose vaccinations that take place in line with these arrangements.’
The supplementary payment is in recognition of the extra staff time and complexity involved in vaccinating housebound patients.
Patients who qualify for a home visit are those who ‘are unable to leave their home at all or require significant assistance to leave the house due to illness, frailty, surgery, mental ill-health or nearing end of life,’ the letter explained.
NHS England added that there is ‘nothing to prevent’ PCN groupings from subcontracting the service to another contractor under the existing arrangements, adding that it supported ‘innovative models of professional collaboration’ to ensure patients are vaccinated quickly.
It added that a ‘contract variation’ will be provided to any community pharmacists asked to provide the service, and the supplement only applies to the Covid vaccination programme.
Guidance on how PCN groupings and community pharmacy contractors should submit claims will be published ‘shortly’ on NHS Futures.
NHSE&I has so far commissioned almost 200 pharmacy-led sites to deliver the vaccine.
More than 12 million people have now been vaccinated under the programme since it began in December.