Retired medics are still being asked to fill out THIRTEEN forms to join national Covid vaccine effort despite Boris’ promise to ‘blast away bureaucracy’
- Former health workers originally being asked to provide 21 pieces of evidence before being allowed to help
- Government slashed it to 13 documents, although retired medics say some will still be put off by bureaucracy
- Some requirements include ‘data security’ and ‘adult safeguarding’, others involve handling and giving jabs
Some of the 13 requirements are essential, including evidence of handling and administering the jabs, a criminal background check and proof of employment. But other modules seem less critical, such as ‘safeguarding adults’ and ‘data security’
Concerns are mounting that red tape is still strangling Britain’s coronavirus vaccine scale up, with retired medics still required to fill out 13 forms before being allowed to administer jabs.
Despite the sluggish immunisation drive crying out for help to get it up to speed, former NHS staff are still having to provide proof of ‘data security’ training to be able to join the national effort.
Liam Fox, the former Tory Cabinet minister and a doctor who has been trying to volunteer to help, said the only qualifications medical professionals should need are ‘to understand the new vaccines and the risks relating to adverse reactions’.
Originally, former health workers were being asked to provide 21 pieces of evidence before being allowed to take part, which included evidence of anti-terrorism training, fire safety and conflict resolution.
But the Government came under huge pressure to get rid of the excessive bureaucracy, with Boris Johnson promising last Wednesday ‘all such obstacles and all such pointless pettifoggery has been removed’.
It was reported last night that the number of requirements had been chopped down from 21 to 15, which critics said did not go far enough. NHS sources told MailOnline today there had been confusion and that medics looking to sign up now actually only need to provide 13 documents.
But retired doctors said today there was still ‘too much time-wasting bureaucracy’ that could put off volunteers from joining and hamper the country’s ambitious plans to jab 13million people by mid-February.
Some of the 13 requirements are essential, including evidence of handling and administering the Oxford University/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, a criminal background check and proof of employment.
But other modules seem less critical, such as ‘safeguarding adults’ – which is training to recognise and report potential indicators of abuse, harm and neglect – and ‘data security’.
Retired GP Claire Barker said retired doctors were still likely to be put off by the requirements. She told The Telegraph: ‘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. At the moment I still think the requirements would be enough to put a lot of people off.’
Originally, former health workers were being asked to provide 21 pieces of evidence before being allowed to take part, which included evidence of anti-terrorism training, fire safety and conflict resolution
The Prime Minister promised MPs ‘all such obstacles and all such pointless pettifoggery has been removed’ on Wednesday. Pictured, Boris Johnson on January 7
The 13 requirements
• Passport or proof of right to work
• DBS (criminal background check)
• Verification of professional registration online
• COVID-19 knowledge for vaccinators
• COVID mRNA Vaccine / AZ Vaccine
• Managing anaphylaxis
• Data security
• Vaccine Admin
• Vaccine Storage (combined with Above)
• Resuscitation level 2 (prior certification)
• Health and safety (Prior experience)
• Infection Prevention and control (revise/F2F)
• Safeguarding adults – level 1, if required
• Conflict Resolution
• Moving and Handling
• Equality & Diversity
• Fire safety
• Preventing radicalisation
• Safeguarding children – level 1
Last week in the House of Commons, Mr Fox urged the Government to ditch the long list of requirements to become a volunteer as he revealed his own experience of being required to fill out an excessive number of forms.
He told MPs: ‘As a qualified but non-practising doctor, I volunteered to help with the scheme and would urge others to do the same.
‘But, can I ask the Prime Minister why I’ve been required to complete courses on conflict resolution, equality, diversity and human rights, moving and handling loads and preventing radicalisation in order to give a simple Covid jab?
‘Can I urge him to get the NHS and the Department of Health to drop the bureaucracy, drop the political correctness and do all they can to actually get the vaccine programme moving.’
The Prime Minister replied that he has been ‘assured by the Health Secretary that all such obstacles, all such pointless pettifoggery has been removed’.
He added: ‘And there should be absolutely nothing to stop him from volunteering to be a vaccinator.’
It comes after retired occupational physician Celia Palmer, from London, blasted the health service over its ‘bureaucratic’ system of approval for volunteers to help fight coronavirus on the frontline.
More than 40,000 doctors and nurses applied to return to the NHS to help with the pandemic, but only 5,000 had been given jobs by July.
Dr Palmer said she was contacted about returning to wards in April but it took 21 emails to be accepted and she still has to have additional training.
She hit out at the checks requiring medics to prove they are educated in subjects such as counter-terrorism and racial equality.
She told the Today programme: ‘I was first contacted by the GMC at the beginning of April and told that my registration had been temporarily restored and inviting me to respond to the Covid crisis, which of course I did.
‘Twenty-one emails later I have been accepted as a vaccinator but I’ve been invited to complete a survey because I have not yet been contacted with a start date or work location.
‘I also have to do some more training and I don’t yet know what that training comprises.’
Asked if she has been asked to fill in particular forms on her background, she said: ‘Nobody’s asked me to do it, I haven’t done it, I can’t see how it is relevant to a mass vaccination programme.
‘We’re going to be working presumably in groups and I can’t imagine that doctors who have experience in vaccination – as most of us I believe do – are going to need anti-radicalisation programmes.’
She said: ‘I think you need to work from first principles to say that you look at the task you’ve got to do, if it’s fairly straightforward you can identify what the risks are and for a mass task like that there needs to be a special track which allows us to do it safely but does not delay the process of getting the vaccination programme off the ground.’
She added: ‘If they’re going to vaccinate two million people a week as has been mentioned, I can’t quite see how you can expect busy GPs who have to look after patients… how are they possibly going to do that without some additional help.’
Former occupational physician Celia Palmer, from London, blasted the health service over its ‘bureaucratic’ system of approval for volunteers
Dr Brian Cooper, 73, who used to work at Birmingham City Hospital, was one of tens of thousands of former medics to sign up to the NHS’s call for volunteers when the threat of hospitals being overwhelmed loomed large.
But he claims his offer to help went unanswered for seven months, despite the NHS crying out for more staff to get normal services back up and running.
The NHS boss overseeing recruitment, Andrew Foster, said officials had ignored his plea to create a bank of volunteers.
He said: ‘everybody could see that there was going to be a second wave and a need for vaccinations’ adding his team tried to create their own military reserve of workers.
Mr Foster, a former hospital chief executive who co-ordinated the Bringing Back Staff programme until July, sid the plan was ignored because of its £30million cost.
Dr Cooper, who has expertise in identifying cancers in the stomach and bowel, says when he finally received an answer to his appeal to work, he was asked to do a contact tracing work for NHS Test and Trace which required no qualifications.
He told MailOnline: ‘My beef is that the Government have had a tremendous response from doctors and nurses who are willing to go back and help, but there’s no evidence that they’ve been using any more than a handful of such people.
‘There seems to be an inability in the NHS to ease its red tape regulation to facilitate the use of doctors and nurses who are retired. Many of us are frustrated as we have skills to continue delivering non-Covid care, a lot of us are in our late 60s and early 70s.
‘We can do outpatient clinics, we can do referrals on patients with suspected cancer cases. That would release younger doctors to rally around dealing with acute admissions, or we could be vaccinated and go to the front line.
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