BAPO have made a statement across all the home nations on their stance regarding the new Covid-19 vaccination. The statement is below
The British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO) is the professional body representing clinicians working in our field in the UK.
Prosthetist/orthotists are one of 14 Allied Health Professions (AHPs) providing key frontline services in the NHS. They work in many different environments from emergency care to rehabilitation, primary care to schools. Prosthetist/orthotists work with people of all ages and our roles require face to face intervention often with the most vulnerable of society.
Prosthetist/orthotists provide a clinical service to local trusts. They also travel between multiple clinic locations to support wider services such as vascular, diabetic care, paediatrics, elderly care and between different trusts.
Prosthetist/orthotists are either employed directly by the NHS or are subcontracted to provide NHS clinical services as their full-time role. Due to our small numbers, these key AHPs, working within the NHS directly with patients, can be excluded or forgotten when it comes to national initiatives such as vaccinations for front line staff.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that the first priorities for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems (30th Dec 2020).
It is imperative that ALL AHP’s, including contracted Prosthetist/orthotists are included in all local vaccination plans for COVID-19 protection. Therefore, all NHS providers should ensure that Prosthetist/orthotists working within their organisation are recognised as frontline patient facing staff and are entitled to vaccination in line with national set priorities. This action will protect the staff concerned, NHS service providers and their patients, whilst ensuring that vital prosthetic and orthotic services are maintained.
We are therefore looking to NHS providers to protect our members, the patients they treat and NHS colleagues they work with.
Regarding the stance in England BAPO has received assurance from the Deputy Chief AHP Officer for England that the current national vaccination plans are to apply to ALL frontline health and care professionals, wherever they work and whoever employs them.