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Advisers take ministers to task over faulty vaccine IT

Government advisers on immunisation have protested to the Department of Health at the damaging effects of faulty computer systems for tracking child vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation warned problems in accessing data on vaccination status could 'adversely impact on

immunisation programmes' – after uptake plummeted by up to 19 per cent in affected areas.

Professor Andrew Hall, chair of the committee, has raised the problems with the Connecting for Health systems in meetings with the department.

The Health Protection Agency has warned 'lessons need to be learnt' as similar systems are introduced elsewhere in the country.

The news came amid mounting concern that GPs in the 10 London trusts using the Child Health Interim Application might miss out on target payments.

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said: 'GPs were told to use PCT systems in favour of their own call and recall system. If GPs fail to reach their vaccination targets because of failings in the IT system they must not be penalised. We will absolutely campaign for a relaxation in payment for practices not meeting targets because of faults in the system.'

But the department appeared to rule out any leeway for practices hit by the IT chaos. A spokesman said: 'GPs are paid for achieving the highest possible take-up for childhood immunisation. The national direction for the childhood immun- isation scheme does not permit a change in the targets.'

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