In a move that is bound to spark much controversy, doctors’ unions have struck a deal that will allow – if not encourage – GPs to turn patients seeking routine check-ups away in favour of giving Covid jabs. This comes in spite of numerous leading authorities downplaying fears over the Omicron variant.
The deal means that doctors will continue to be paid for routine health check appoints despite not carrying them out, according to the Telegraph.
They will also receive benefits for administering vaccinations.
Doctors who take part in the roll-out will be given £15 per jab.
And £20 will be received for every jab given on a Sunday.
This means doctors who turn their regular patients away in favour of giving Covid vaccines will end their day with more money in their pockets.
The new rules will enable doctors to cancel annual health checks for the over-75s, along with the monitoring of millions with known health conditions.
Doctors will also be permitted to stop – while continuing to get paid for – minor surgery, so long as they give out vaccines instead.
After two cases of the Omicron variant were reported in Britain last week, the Prime Minister said in a press conference that Britons must get vaccinated – or “boosted” if they’ve already received two jabs – in order to protect themselves.
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“It is a realistic possibility that, over the next five years, there will be epidemics of sufficient size to overwhelm health and care services.”
But the Government’s renewed booster vaccine push comes amid warnings that the severity of the Omicron variant is being overplayed.
SAGE’s Professor Calum Semple said last week: “[The emerging variant] is not a disaster, and the headlines from some of my colleagues saying ‘this is horrendous’ I think are hugely overstating the situation.”
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, the Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, added: “It is extremely unlikely that a reboot of a pandemic in a vaccinated population like we saw last year is going to happen.”
Following further research, a spokesperson for the World Health Organisation, quoted in UN News, insisted that countries should “not get completely worried or confused by individual information which are all individually important, but which need to be brought together in order to assess together”.
Meanwhile, the NHS waiting list continues to grow.
Currently standing just below six million, a recent report by the National Audit Office estimated that it could reach as high as 12million by 2025.