Running Covid vaccination sites has opened up opportunities for closing health inequalities among patients and helping practices to achieve their QOF points.
GP Dr Sohail Munshi, chief medical officer at Manchester and Trafford Local Care Organisations told delegates at last week’s Management in Practice event in Liverpool that data on reaching under- served communities shows that public health advice given at a Covid site can sometimes more effectively help groups with poorer health outcomes than in conventional surgery settings.
Dr Munshi, who is also senior clinical advisor at NHS England, said: ‘These vaccination sites can capture people that perhaps don’t come through general practice in the same numbers as others, for a variety of reasons, and who can experience further health inequality.’
He went on to explain that to encourage vaccination among groups with a lower uptake, vaccination sites or centres had to be more flexible and creative about delivery, with the result they ended up better meeting the needs of people who prefer to access healthcare in different ways.
The data shows that when those people were offered other checks, such as blood pressure, in addition to their vaccine, they often took it up, said Dr Munshi.
‘Evidence shows that addressing public health in a group setting is one effective way of targeting the bottom 20% of those patients that we find it hard to serve. It can be more more effective than our usual call and recall systems. And it has helped address health inequalities.’
The bottom 20% are defined by the index of multiple deprivation in line with the national Core20PLUS5 strategy that Dr Munshi encouraged practices to look up and work towards with system partners under new ICS arrangements.
He added that that increased BP checks could result in higher QOF achievement for BP indicators, with a positive impact on QOF scores. And he encouraged PCNs to be aware of local community pharmacies involved in commissioned hypertension pathways and to work with system partners on joined up pathways.
‘We need to flip our thinking a bit’, Dr Munshi urged.
‘Some sophisticated PCNs have been addressing QOF activity while patients attend Covid vaccine clinics.’
Meanwhile, in a separate session at the conference non-clinical partner Ryan Smith at Abbey Medical Centre in South Warwickshire shared more tips on how to improve income from QOF and other sources.
He advised practices to look at all their contracts, including the Impact and Investment Fund and DES, checking for targets that overlap or are duplicated.
‘There are lots of overlaps in the contracts. It means potentially one consultation or one “Florey” text can help hit multiple targets, from different contracts, in one go. So, a single piece of work could hit the criteria for receiving two or three other payments.’
Mr Smith also urged practices to make use of extended hours access to hold reviews or clinics. ‘We carry out a lot of smears during weekends and evenings and do a lot of dementia reviews on Saturday mornings. This is when it can be more convenient for patients to attend so boosts uptake.’