By Bill Heaney
International athlete Brian Whittle MSP has drawn the Scottish Parliament’s attention to the fact that the chairs of the British Medical Association Scotland’s general practitioners committee and the British Dental Association’s Scottish committee have raised concerns about the “bureaucratic” process involved in vaccination training for Covid.
He told MSPs: “It has been described as “clunky” and bureaucratic and is said to contain training modules on subjects that have little relevance to what vaccinators are being asked to do.
“Patient safety is paramount, but does the First Minister accept that unnecessary red tape and bureaucratic delays cannot be allowed to deter people from applying to become vaccinators?”
And the now Conservative politician urged First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to intervene to ensure the training was “more streamlined”.
She told him: “The training takes proper account of the existing skills and experience of the people who are deployed. Individuals who are experienced and active vaccinators need only the training that covers the specific characteristics of the Covid vaccines.
“The training requirements for individuals who might be returning to service after having been inactive for a period are informed by a short self-assessment and might take longer.
“That said, we recognise the need for a proportionate approach to any induction that might be required over and above vaccination training.
“For example, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has already streamlined its processes by introducing pre-clinic huddles that cover matters that might otherwise have formed part of induction training. We have written to all national health service boards encouraging them to take similar steps.
“I agree that unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape should always be removed. As I said, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is a good example of a health board that has already done that, and we are encouraging all health boards to do it.
“However, it is really important that the people who put vaccine into the arms of people across the country have appropriate training.
“In my exchange with Jackie Baillie [on this subject], I made the point that some of the issues that she legitimately raised are issues that we need to ensure training for so that we can avoid wastage in the programme and ensure that those who are vaccinating know exactly what is required of them.
“There is a tailored approach. People who do flu vaccination every year and are therefore active vaccinators will need to be trained only in the specific characteristics of Covid vaccination.
“Those who have less experience, or less-recent experience, need more training in order to ensure patient safety and that they know all the dos and don’ts.
“It is always a case of getting that balance right, but the approach that is being taken is very much aligned across the UK and is there for the right reasons.”