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Anxious parents force GP practice to close waiting list for private Men B jabs

A private GP practice in Essex has been forced to close its waiting list for Meningitis B vaccinations for children over the age of 12 months, after a surge in demand from anxious parents.

The Russell and Ridley practice in Billericay was forced to take down its list after being ‘inundated with phone calls from worried parents’, the Brentwood Gazette reported.

GPs have been giving the new Men B jab to infants at age two, four and 12 months, since it was introduced into the routine immunisation schedule last September.

But there has been a call for routine Meningitis B (Men B) vaccinations to be given to all children up to the age of 11.

A parliamentary e-petition – reported to be the most popular one since the system was introduced five years ago – has reached over 750,000 signatures, triggering a debate in the House of Commons. 

But Government advisors have ruled it would not be cost-effective to vaccinate older children routinely on the NHS, while short supplies of the vaccine mean it is currently only available for limited use outside this programme.

Dr Maddi Ridley, a GP at the practice, told the Brentwood Gazette:  ‘We are having a nightmare with phones and emails at the moment.

‘People are very panicky; you can hear it in their voices.’

Dr Ridley added: ‘A month ago or so, when the vaccine was available, people didn’t have the awareness and the high profile stories have definitely created a bit of a panic.

‘The media has brought it to the front of peoples’ minds whereas they might have considered cost.’

A statement on the practice website said: ‘Due to current global vaccine shortage of Meningitis B vaccine (Bexsero), we regrettably are unable to start any new courses of the vaccination.’

The statement added: ‘We have had to close our waiting list now, so please keep checking in for any updates.’

Readers' comments (6)

  • We live in an anxiety society thanks to the Internet.

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  • @6:55

    True. Well at least there will be no shortage of patients when the NHS implodes and more appropriate fees are charged for the work we do. As opposed to the average £125/year per patient for unlimited appointments, phone access and house calls.

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  • Give people what they want. That worked out OK in the past. Look at our shinning example of an NHS, not to mention our perfectly behaved patients.

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  • Remember the MMR debacle?

    Maybe the way round that would have been to restrict those eligible for MMR vaccination, have a few high profile cases of kids dying of measles and waiting for the clamour.

    That was tongue in cheek, obviously, but it does illustrate the irony here. A new vaccine with little experience is being demanded by huge petitions and public demand, where a very longstanding and proven safe and effective vaccine was rejected by so many not that long ago.

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  • 655 am.
    My 110 pounds/ patient year includes staff wages. As the accountant pointed out our PROFIT per patient in NI average is 62.
    Take home is 34 per patient year since the govt takes back in tax and NI etc.
    Out of 110, we actually get 34.
    But the reason is simple. If you were HS, you would want to pay the least amount of money.
    We are mugs to do it, but that really is our problem.
    The DOH will only ever pay the least.

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  • What is the REAL cost per patient

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