NHSE pledges to rectify pharmacist COVID-19 vax registration issues
NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) has pledged to resolve an issue faced by pharmacists applying to sign up to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.
Several pharmacists flagged the issue on Twitter yesterday (January 4). They reported that the NHS application form to join the team of COVID-19 vaccinators does not list pharmacists among the registered healthcare professionals who can apply for the role.
Having spent 30 minutes trying to complete an online form to be a 'registered healthcare professional' for the NHS Covid vaccination programme, I note that #pharmacists are not listed. I can therefore not continue my application. Why is this? @MattHancock @keithridge1— Rachel Britton (@rach_pharm) January 4, 2021
The person specification on the application page indicates that registered healthcare professionals on the Nursing and Midwifery Council for nurses, “[General Pharmaceutical Council] GPhC for pharmacists and equivalent for other healthcare professionals” are suitable for the role.
Have had the same problem since Wednesday. Contacted the team to highlight this 'system error', awaiting a call back! Pharmacists are ready to support, please make it easier for us to do so.— Mona Koshkouei (@MonaKoshkouei) January 4, 2021
role adverts specifically mention pharmacists and then they are not included. You're then pointed to the vaccinator roles, and there is still no mention of GPhC. I've completed the form (who knows how), but the documents took ages to upload. Fortunately I'd done most of it.— Helen Beaumont (@Chamoissiere) January 4, 2021
Me too!! Despite the guidance saying that registration with the GPhC was one they were looking for, it then wasn't an option and I was automatically rejected from the application process!— Louise Cogan (@mrsberry1111) January 4, 2021
Chief pharmaceutical officer for England Keith Ridge replied to the concerns on Twitter yesterday to say that the issue had been “raised with the right team” and that NHSE&I would “report back asap”.
Spotted in November/Dec during initial interest. Still not sorted. This is unfortunately what happens when the design of everything is not user-led @NHSPbank It seems that local whatsapp groups runs by PCN leads is the best, safest, no-nonsense way in which works for users; #BLM #HandsFaceSpace #OustTheBS (@_MoNHS) January 4, 2021
An NHSEI spokesperson told C+D today (January 5) that the issues experienced by these pharmacists were caused by an error that is being promptly rectified and pharmacists should not experience the same glitch when completing the application in the future.
The spokesperson said: “Community pharmacists will soon be playing an important role in local vaccination services, alongside the tens of thousands of others who have trained to deliver this vital protection. We are delighted that current and former pharmacy colleagues are keen to play a role too, as vaccine supplies increase."
Unnecessary red tape
The pharmacists also said that the documentation required to complete the application might slow down the national efforts to recruit vaccinators and have a detrimental impact on the ability to vaccinate many people as quickly as possible.
Furthermore, the list of required supporting documentation is LUDICROUS. Of course I understand the need to appropriately 'vet' applicants but this level of bureaucracy is unnecessary and will hamper the effort to swiftly vaccinate the millions that we need to.— Rachel Britton (@rach_pharm) January 4, 2021
I had to send in 12 documents for my application (some of which requested the same information) and fill in a DBS request. That’s before I get to mandatory training. Reducing sludge and friction would seem sensible. https://t.co/fBPURXDA7S; Anthony Cox (@Cox_A_R) December 31, 2020
A selected number of pharmacies in England will begin administering the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from next week, NHS England said in a letter to the successful candidates last week (December 28).
NHSE&I started the designation process to select suitable pharmacy-led sites on November 27, a few days before the UK approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
On December 30, the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was also approved for use in the UK. The first doses of this vaccine are being delivered to a “small number of hospitals… for surveillance purposes” before they are sent to GP-led services later this week, according to NHSE&I.
Pharmacy bodies are making a case for community pharmacies to become more involved with the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, especially following the approval of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.