The swine flu could spell extra payments for practice nurses who may be needed to work overtime to help vaccinate “at risk” patients during the autumn.
An agreement between the British Medical Association and Government, announced earlier this month, means GP practices will be paid £5.25 for giving patients a single dose of swine-flu vaccine – patients are currently planned to receive two, though early trial data suggests one may be sufficient.
The deal has been widely touted as another boost for GPs’ profits. But Royal College of Nursing primary healthcare adviser Lynn Young said: “Let’s be clear it’s money into the practice not to the GP.”
The vaccination programme was likely to mean practice nurses would be offered “extra hours”, he said
The Department of Health has also said that district nurses would be required to vaccinate patients that were housebound. Ms Young said this should not pose a problem, as district nurses could incorporate vaccination into routine visits and arrange to visit others nearby, where possible.
However, other nurses were less confident that the profession would see any of the benefits of the deal. One nurse practitioner commenting on Nursingtimes.net said the extra work was likely to be “simply swallowed up into the rest of the workload, with very little thanks –meanwhile the majority of the money is pocketed as profit”.
Last week the Nursing and Midwifery Council said it would be writing to 90,000 nurses and midwives whose registration has lapsed within the previous four years to rejoin it to help out in a resurgence of the swine flu pandemic.