GPs in England will be paid an additional £10 for every housebound patient they vaccinate against COVID-19, NHS England has announced.
The news follows concerns that housebound patients are being left behind in the NHS Vaccination Programme, especially in rural areas.
Home care provider Cera revealed last month that thousands of elderly people who use its services are either “too frail” to travel to vaccination centres or “fear infection” if they do.
Meanwhile, CHD Care at Home said that only a third of its service users have been able to receive the vaccine, compared with 80% of residents across the group’s care homes.
But NHS England said that “tremendous efforts” are being made by GPs to protect the most vulnerable people who cannot leave their homes.
It revealed that some GP services working in towns and cities have been vaccinating more than 100 people with conditions such as dementia, each day, and those working in rural areas have been driving through heavy snow to protect housebound people.
The £10 payment recognises the extra staff time and complexity of vaccinating the housebound, NHS England said.
The supplement also applies retrospectively to any vaccinations which have already been administered to people at home.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS medical director for primary care, said: “Tremendous efforts have been made by GPs across the country to ensure we vaccinate those people who are in the priority cohorts as determined by the JCVI.
“Since the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for use and we began administering it on 4 January when Brian Pinker became the first person to receive the jab, my colleagues across the country have been prioritising the vaccination programme roll out which is our biggest chance of beating this virus.”