GPs and NHS clash over f lu jab fi­asco

Daily Mail - - News -

NHS bosses and GPs are blam­ing each other for fail­ing to pro­vide enough flu jabs for the over-65s.

Thou­sands of el­derly pa­tients have not yet been vac­ci­nated af­ter surg­eries and chemists ran out of stock.

One phar­ma­cist in Bris­tol said he was turn­ing away 15 el­derly pa­tients a day and short­ages have also been re­ported in Sur­rey, Kent, Mid­dles­brough, Birm­ing­ham and Bolton. The prob­lems were trig­gered by the roll­out of a new jab.

GP lead­ers said NHS Eng­land only told them to switch vac­cines in Fe­bru­ary af­ter they had placed or­ders last Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber to be used this au­tumn.

But NHS Eng­land has crit­i­cised doc­tors and phar­ma­cists for fail­ing to act quickly enough to switch stocks once the guid­ance went out. It gave them un­til the end of March to place or­ders for the vac­cine, man­u­fac­tured by Sur­rey-based firm Se­qirus, which it claims was plenty of time.

NHS Eng­land said that there is enough of the new vac­cine, Fluad, to go around and a batch is ex­pected to ar­rive in surg­eries next week. The flu sea­son usu­ally starts to take hold in De­cem­ber. Richard Vautrey, the chair­man of the Bri­tish Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion’s GP com­mit­tee, said that NHS Eng­land had to learn from its fail­ings to avoid sim­i­lar short­ages next year.

While Ju­dith Jolly, the Lib Dems’ health spokesman, said: ‘It is dis­grace­ful that the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in our so­ci­ety are be­ing left at risk.’

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