Retired doctors must fill in 15 forms before being able to give jab
Retired doctors will still have to fill out 15 forms before being allowed to take part in the mass coronavirus vaccination programme despite claims from Boris Johnson that red tape had been slashed.
The news came amid claims from a Conservative MP that the vaccination programme could be held up because it takes up to 15 minutes for each person being vaccinated to sign consent forms to receive a Covid-19 jab.
The Daily Telegraph previously revealed that retired medics were being asked to provide 21 pieces of evidence before taking part in the mass vaccination drive.
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, told MPs on Wednesday that he had been assured by Health secretary Matt Hancock that "all such obstacles and all such pointless pettifoggery has been removed".
However, after being approached by The Sunday Telegraph, the Department of Health and Social Care admitted that only six of the training modules had been removed, leaving 15 different requirements in place.
Liam Fox MP, the former Cabinet minister and a doctor who has been trying to volunteer to help, said: "For qualified and registered medical professionals there needs to be a recognition that too much time wasting bureaucracy will act to deter people from offering their services.
"For qualified medical professionals we simply need people to understand the new vaccines and the risks relating to adverse reactions."
Retired GP Claire Barker, who originally came forward to highlight the issue, said that the 15 remaining were likely to still put off retired doctors.
"There is a balance to be struck between making sure that people are competent and over egging it by asking them to do things that they don’t really, really need," she said. "At the moment I still think the requirements would be enough to put a lot of people off."
Dr Barker, who only retired in 2017 after running her own practice for 30 years, has now applied to be a volunteer rather than a returning medic.
She has still had to complete 18 documentation requirements, including online courses, which has taken her "the best part of a week". It is unclear if she will be able to inject the vaccine.
‘Step in the right direction’
Dr Barker said that she was pleased that the NHS was taking a "step in the right direction" but said that they could go further to encourage the army of people they need to help with the vaccination effort.
Separately Tory MP Kate Griffiths – who has witnessed the vaccination programme in action at the Pirelli stadium in Bolton – warned that lengthy consent forms were taking 10 to 15 minutes for every person vaccinated.
This would mean that it would take "41,000 hours to consent and vaccinate the top four priority groups for the vaccine in East Staffordshire alone".
Ms Griffiths suggested a national consent model was adopted "to streamline administrative processes, enabling more people to be vaccinated sooner and help us all get back to normal more quickly".
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: "We do not have mandatory vaccination in the UK but operate a system of informed consent – meaning patients must discuss any vaccine with a healthcare professional to understand the possible consequences.
“There are no delays in Covid-19 vaccination caused by accrediting volunteers or returners.
“We have reviewed the process for experienced clinicians to ensure it is smoother and takes account of their previous non-clinical training.”