GPs are being paid £1,000 to cancel second dose appointments for Covid jabs and given a script to follow to deal with angry patients amid growing chaos in the roll-out of the vaccine programme.
Practices have been offered the payments to cover the workload of postponing hundreds of patients who were set to have their second dose and booking new ones in their place.
NHS sources said the shift has contributed to delays in rolling out the programme. Some GPs have refused to postpone the appointments, with practice managers saying it was "too cruel" to dash the hopes of those who were booked for a second jab.
In December, everyone given a first vaccine by Pfizer was told to come back for their second dose three weeks later. But the strategy was changed 10 days ago in a bid to get a first dose to more of the population more quickly.
Patients are now being told they will have to wait 12 weeks for the second dose, with a reassurance from health officials that the longer gap could strengthen its effectiveness.
By the time the plan was changed, around one million people had already been booked in for their second dose. GPs are now under orders to postpone such appointments and instead give the slots to those awaiting a first dose.
Source: The Telegraph, 8 January 2021