A luxury property firm offered doctors thousands of pounds for unused Covid vaccines.
The Hacking Trust’s medical division approached surgeries in Bristol and Worthing offering to pay £5,000 a dose to charity “or the staff member directly”, according to the BBC.
In a statement, the company said it “offered in open correspondence to GP’s charitable donations to staff or surgeries in this difficult time for any vaccines which were unused. We had heard that some vaccines were being unused via missed appointments.
“We would apologise that our good intentions have been misinterpreted. In light of the criticism which has been received we want to highlight that it was never our intention to skip any queues or waiting lists. We were only interested to hear about same-day vaccines being thrown away.”
The firm did not respond to questions about what it intended to do with the vaccines if obtained. It was reported that the company said it required approximately 20 vaccines.
Robyn Clark, a director of the Institute for General Practice Management, which represents NHS GP practice managers, told the Telegraph, which broke the news: “The IGPM are appalled that this company would offer money to practices to essentially jump the queue.
“Practices are doing their utmost to ensure vaccine is given to the priority groups as laid out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, as these are the most vulnerable in our society.
“These patients have been waiting for vaccine and many of them are willing to attend sites at short notice to get the chance to have it. We are astounded that anyone would think offering money is appropriate in these circumstances.”
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS medical director for primary care, said: “Hundreds of NHS teams across the country are working hard to deliver vaccines quickly to those who would benefit most – people aged 80 and over and those who live or work in care homes – with doses also for our frontline health and social care workers.
“NHS staff will never ask for, or accept, cash for vaccines, and the public will rightly take a dim view of anyone who tries to jump the queue.”
It comes as a fraudster claiming to work for the NHS injected a 92-year-old woman with a fake Covid-19 vaccine. Police are searching for the suspected conman, who charged the victim £160, and said he “may endanger people’s lives”.