A DAUK survey of almost 900 UK GPs, carried out to inform a briefing of MPs and peers, found 42% GPs had faced some difficulties in vaccinating patients this season. While flu stock shortages were cited by GPs as the biggest issue (78%), a further 38% reported struggling to find enough staff to keep on top of both the flu service and routine clinical work.
The DAUK presented the survey findings in a cross-party briefing on 3 November, which involved representatives from the Conservatives and Labour, as well as various smaller parties.
Dr Vinesh Patel, GP partner and DAUK committee member said:
‘Following our roundtable meeting with MPs on Tuesday, we are proud to have been able to raise the issues highlighted by primary care staff respondents in our survey.
‘We discussed issues such as the mental health of staff, rising workloads, the GP-bashing within the media and the importance of primary care in this pandemic, and we are confident that we will be able to work together to tackle these issues going forward.’
The briefing made six policy recommendations to the group of MPs and peers:
1) A commitment to urgent ring-fenced funding for primary care in line with that provided to acute trusts.
2) An urgent review of the Public Health England PPE guidelines and revision to be in line with WHO recommendations and an urgent review of PPE stockpiles with provision for primary care/
3) Urgent recognition of the issue of digital deprivation and a review of support needed for the most deprived areas to ensure that the most vulnerable patients are able to access services.
4) Ring-fenced funding for 24-hour mental health support for all NHS workers, including primary care staff across the devolved nations.
5) Urgent action on lack of access to flu vaccinations, and a cash injection to ensure GPs can carry out a Covid vaccination programme, if and when required
6) MP support to combat the damaging narrative that GPs have not been open during the pandemic.
Read the full Pulse article here.