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GP practices giving MMR vaccine to staff have indemnity cover, says NHS England

by Eliza Parr
28 February 2024

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GP practices will have indemnity cover when administering the MMR vaccine to their staff even if they are registered elsewhere, NHS England has confirmed. 

But practices will not be able to claim an item of service fee for administering vaccines to these staff members. 

This move is in response to measles outbreaks across the country, which have been concentrated in the West Midlands but are seeing ‘clusters’ of cases now increasing in other areas of the country.

GPs were asked last year to deliver a catch-up MMR vaccination programme for children aged between 12 months and five years, and in response to more recent outbreaks, NHS England launched a campaign this month targeting children aged six to 11.

Practices were also advised to ensure all staff are ‘fully immunised’ against measles in Government guidance published in January.

The BMA’s GP Committee (GPCE) called for a measles vaccination enhanced service earlier this month, to cover the currently ‘unresourced’ work associated with the outbreaks. 

In its latest update, the GPCE told members it had written to NHS England ‘asking for funding’ for the additional work of vaccinating staff, and also ‘pressed for negligence scheme cover’.

NHS England has confirmed this cover is now in place, however funding for administering vaccines to staff registered at another practice is not possible. 

The national commissioner’s deputy director of vaccination Jane Freeguard said GPs they are ‘permitting practices to administer MMR vaccines to their eligible staff who are registered with another practice under INT (immediately necessary treatment)’. 

This arrangement, for MMR vaccinations only, will be in place until the end of March and is specifically aimed at tackling the measles national incident. 

Ms Freeguard further explained: ‘An item of service fee cannot be claimed for the administration of MMR vaccines to staff registered with another practice. 

‘However, indemnity cover will be provided through CNSGP and nationally supplied MMR stock can be used to vaccinate eligible staff.’

GP practices should ‘strongly’ encourage staff to inform their registered practice that they have received the MMR vaccine in order for their medical record to be updated, according to NHS England. 

Latest figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) showed that cases in the Birmingham area may be showing signs of easing but other spikes are being seen in London, the North West and Yorkshire. 

A further 60 laboratory confirmed cases of measles were recorded in England last week, bringing the total number since October to 581.

A version of this story first appeared in our sister publication Pulse