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Government removes red tape for doctors wanting to help with vaccination

The secretary of state for health and social care, Matt Hancock MP, has removed red tape that is stopping doctors returning to practice to help with COVID-19 vaccinations.

In his bulletin to RCP members on 6 January, RCP president Professor Andrew Goddard said that fellows had been in touch with him ‘expressing frustration about the challenges of becoming a vaccinator’. The evidence of learning required was substantial, with doctors potentially having to do over 30 learning modules.

Speaking at the RCP Medicine 2021 conference on 7 January, Mr Hancock said: “We have already this week removed a series of unnecessary training modules and made some only applicable based on a local clinical discussion.

“There is a broader point here. What is the goal we are trying to achieve and how do we best achieve it? In this case it is safe vaccinations. The safe bit means you need to do training in order to do the vaccination. But you don’t need to do fire safety again in order to be a vaccinator, you really don’t need to do terrorism training.

“We’ve already got a busting bureaucracy stream of work in the department and we need ideas from the ground about how to do it – I don’t find out about a problem until someone experiences it and says, ‘surely we can do this better?’ I hope that this is something we can do not just on the particular urgent necessity of training vaccinators, but take this as a lesson on how we can approach things across the board.”

This follows his response to a question from Edward Leigh MP in Parliament on 6 January, when he said: “We have removed a series of the unnecessary training modules that have been put in place, including fire safety, terrorism and others” and confirmed that the change was made as of that morning.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “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. All vaccinators will continue to need to be trained on the important clinical aspects including the characteristics of the vaccines they will be using.”

The following non-clinical modules have been removed:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Moving and handling
  • Equality & Diversity - on induction
  • Fire safety
  • Preventing radicalisation
  • Safeguarding children – level 1

The RCP will monitor the situation and let the Secretary of State know if doctors continue to experience barriers to helping. Please contact us via policy@rcplondon.ac.uk if you do.