Quick update on the situation in Gloucestershire following the BBC news item and where Alex Chalk MP and Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP have been very helpful.
Although their intervention has not resulted in a decision to automatically include anyone with ME/CFS into group 6, it does mean that GPs can use their clinical judgement to place people with ME/CFS into group 6 on the basis that they have an underlying health condition that is likely to be exacerbated by Covid.
This means that surgeries should no longer be saying that people with ME/CFS cannot be placed into group 6 and that they do not have the power to put people with ME/CFS into group 6.
Correspondence from Glos Clinical Commissioning Group:
NHS Gloucestershire CCG recognises and acknowledges the issues concerned with the fact that the JCVI have not included people with ME/CFS in cohort 6 of the national Covid vaccination programme. We understand the distress it may be causing to those individuals who have ME/CFS and who, being under the age of 50, may not be receiving a vaccine in the coming weeks.
We note too the advocacy of Dr Charles Shepherd, the medical adviser to the ME Association, and the correspondence with the JCVI.
However, for consistency, and also at the request of the primary care clinicians leading the local vaccination sites and who are responsible for overseeing the vaccination of cohort 6, as a CCG we do not believe we can override the JCVI guidance and mandate inclusion of all people with ME/CFS into cohort 6.
We do acknowledge though the statement from the chairman of the JCVI in response to Dr Shepherd which states that a ‘prescriber should apply clinical judgment to take into account the risk of COVID-19 exacerbating any underlying disease that a patient may have, as well as the risk of serious illness from COVID-19 itself.’
Therefore, whilst we are supportive of clinicians adhering to the current JCVI guidelines we would also be supportive of clinicians if they have placed an individual into cohort based on their own professional and clinical judgement
Patient Advice and Liaison Service(PALS) & Complaints
NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group
The BBC iplayer link has expired, to view the clip please click the following link.
The Facebook post is here
Dr Charles Shepherd, MEA
March 6th 2021