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Darzi centres approached to vaccinate children against swine flu

By Ian Quinn

NHS managers have begun approaching private providers in a bid for vaccination of under-fives against swine flu to be carried out in Darzi centres.

The move came after the Department of Health told PCTs to consider employing alternative providers after the collapse of talks with the GPC over a national vaccination deal.

Care UK, which runs a string of GP-led health centres, said it had been approached by a PCT in the West Midlands about the vaccination campaign being conducted at one of its Darzi sites.

‘This is a very recent development and we have not yet made a decision about whether this is something we will make a company-wide policy on or whether it will be left to out individual centres to agree deals,' said a spokesperson for the company.

NHS Southampton City said approaching Darzi centre providers was ‘an option we are considering'.

NHS Oldham said: 'Consideration will be given to using the GP-led health centre in Oldham as one of the potential alternative providers .'

It had previously been speculated that GP-led health centres could be used to carry out the vaccination campaign, despite concerns that many patients could be forced to travel miles to be vaccinated.

In a letter to all PCTs, swine flu tsar Ian Dalton said: ‘Where local GP practices do not wish to vaccinate these patients, PCTs will need to determine whether they administer vaccination through their directly managed staff (eg health vistors, districty nurses etc) or by arranging with alternative providers.'

Dr Fay Wilson, a GP at the forefront of the battle against the first wave of swine flu in Birmingham, said the idea of using health visitors was unworkable.

‘The prospect of health visitors vaccinating the under fives is ludicrous,' she said. ‘There are not enough of them to even carry out basic child protection let alone carry out swine flu vaccination.'

Darzi centres could be used for delivery of vaccine to under fives Darzi centres could be used for delivery of vaccine to under fives

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