The vaccination programmes will be managed by the health departments in each UK country. It has not yet been decided how individual national governments will deliver the vaccine. The CSP is supportive of non-NHS capacity being used to help deliver it. Further advice on this will be made available as governments clarify their plans.
Update on access to vaccines – 20 November 2020
The CSP has received assurance from the deputy chief AHP officer for England that the current national vaccination plans are to apply to all frontline health and care professionals, wherever they work and whoever employs them.
This includes those working in the NHS, social care, private, independent and charitable sectors and students.
In terms of delivery of the vaccination programme, physiotherapy students have not been recommended to support the programme roll-out, in order to avoid potential delays to their education.
We will continue to seek assurances that a similar stance is taken in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Letter on vaccine deployment from NHS England to NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts
NHS England has provided guidance to Trusts in England on preparing for the deployment of vaccinations, in a letter of 20 November.
Can I support a Covid-19 vaccination programme when it is rolled out?
Yes. As part of UK-wide efforts to deliver a Covid-19 vaccination programme when it becomes available, physiotherapists may be asked to provide vaccination clinics for their local populations.
However, you need to be clear on some specific issues before agreeing.
Is this within the physiotherapy scope of practice and therefore covered by my CSP PLI?
Where you are providing Covid-19 vaccines as part of a vaccination programme or stand-alone vaccination clinic you would not be undertaking this as a physiotherapy activity but rather as a capable individual who is well placed to contribute to a local programme. You can do this but you must be clear that it is not in the context of physiotherapy practice. In this situation you would not be covered by your CSP PLI.
If you are employed, your employer holds the liability for your work. To be clear, you should have some documentation that shows your employer requires you to undertake Covid-19 vaccination as part of your role.
If you work in private practice and are self-employed you may need to seek additional insurance to contribute as a vaccinator.
What training should I have undertaken to offer vaccinations?
- You do not need to be a prescriber or a qualified injection therapist to deliver vaccinations by subcutaneous and/or intramuscular injection. However, you must ensure that you have the knowledge, skills and competence to do so. If you are employed and your organisation is asking you to participate in this activity, they are responsible for providing you with the necessary training.
How would this work in private practice and/or if I am self-employed?
Some private practitioners may be asked to administer vaccinations where they are already contracted to deliver services on behalf of GPs. You should either be directly employed by the Primary Care organisation or have a clear contract for services.
However, private physiotherapists cannot offer vaccinations as a private service as it is not possible to obtain wholesale stocks of vaccines.
What about the impact on my physiotherapy workload?
- It is appropriate that physiotherapists use their capabilities to support the wider NHS workforce, but it is important that organisations take account of the impact this may have on patients accessing physiotherapy services.
It will be an organisational decision as to which service takes priority, and how staff are deployed to deliver services
If you are employed in NHS services and you are asked to allocate working time to provide vaccination clinics, you should consider the interruption this may have on your physiotherapy workload.