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Publication - Correspondence

Coronavirus (COVID-19): immunisation programme for people with learning disabilities

Published: 25 Feb 2021

Letter from Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Officer offering expertise of local learning disability nurses in providing reasonable adjustments for the COVID-19 Immunisation programme.

Published:
25 Feb 2021
Coronavirus (COVID-19): immunisation programme for people with learning disabilities

COVID-19 immunisation programme For people With learning disabilities and neurodevelopmental needs

To: Chief Executives, NHS Boards Chief Officers, Health And Social Care Partnerships

As you know an extensive Covid 19 vaccination programme is currently underway resulting in great progress being made. I would wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your leadership around this. In undertaking this work we are conscious that some of the most vulnerable people in society may have difficulty in accessing services and require a more nuanced approach to facilitate successful uptake. In particular this is the case for people with a learning/intellectual disabilities and or eligible people with neurodevelopmental needs.

You will now be aware of Scottish Government’s intention to expand group 6 to include people with mild or moderate learning/intellectual disabilities and we recognise that you are currently planning for a blended approach of utilising community vaccination centres and local GPs to administer these vaccines.

With this in mind the expertise of the Learning Disability Nursing workforce can assist with the vaccination of this client group. In particular their skills in caring for this client group, smoothing access to services and enabling them to receive support care and treatment in line with their needs. With this in mind the following action is recommended as good practice:

  • Learning Disability Nurses should vaccinate people on their case load, as part of their day to day workload, as they will have an established relationship which will be helpful in supporting their clients to receive the vaccine
  • a Learning Disability Nurse Link Person should be identified to support the Boards Covid-19 Vaccination Operational Lead to deliver the programme to this cohort of patients
  • Learning Disability Nurses should be encouraged to join the local Nurse Bank with a view to vaccinating people with learning/intellectual disabilities and or eligible people with neurodevelopmental issues known to Primary Care Services where possible. This approach will ensure that indemnity is provided under CNORIS and that these nurses are working to the National Protocols or PGDs as appropriate for COVID-19 vaccines. Health Boards are advised to make GP practices aware where Learning Disability Nurses will be vaccinating patients
  • a Learning Disability Nurse Link Person should be identified to support the Boards Covid-19 Vaccination Operational Lead to deliver the programme to this cohort of patients 
  • Learning Disability Nurses should be encouraged to join the local Nurse Bank with a view to vaccinating people with learning/intellectual disabilities and or eligible people with neurodevelopmental issues known to Primary Care Services where possible. This approach will ensure that indemnity is provided under CNORIS and that these nurses are working to the National Protocols or PGDs as appropriate for COVID-19 vaccines. Health Boards are advised to make GP practices aware where Learning Disability Nurses will be vaccinating patients

Workforce Remuneration

Remuneration of Learning Disability Nursing workforce will be in line with the Diversifying the Covid-19 Vaccinations Workforce: Terms and Conditions of Employment/Deployment letter issued by the Deputy Director of Health Workforce on 1st February 2021 or any future up to date guidance.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr Gregor Smith
Chief Medical Officer

Professor Amanda Croft
Chief Nursing Officer