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GPs go forth

DH and GPC agree payment for swine flu vaccination campaign

By Lilian Anekwe

GPs will be paid £10.50 for every patient given the swine flu vaccine, the Government has announced.

After lengthy negotiations, the Department of Health, GPC and NHS Employers have agreed that GPs will be paid £5.25 for each of the two doses of the swine flu jab given to patients in at-risk groups.

The vaccination campaign will begin in the autumn subject to the vaccine being licensed for use by the European Medicines Agency.

In total 9.5m patients will be prioritised for swine flu vaccination. The first to receive the jab will be the 5 million patients aged between six months and 65 years who are in the clinical at-risk groups for the seasonal flu programme.

They will be followed by half a million pregnant women, a further half a million household contacts of people with compromised immune systems, and then the 3.5 million over-65s seasonal flu risk groups.

The Department of Health insisted that local enhanced services funding will not be withdrawn to fund the vaccination programme.

But GPs who are successful in the swine flu vaccination campaign will have patient experience targets eased.

Practices where the number of patients receiving vaccination increases by more than 3% compared to last year's seasonal flu campaign will be granted a 10% and 20% drop in the upper and lower thresholds of the PE7 and PE8 QOF indicators.

The rules on these indicators - on advanced access and the ability to offer patients an appointment within 48 hours - will be relaxed to avoid practices taking part paying an unfair financial penalty.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham said the deal ‘represented good value for money', and GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘We are pleased we have reached a national agreement as we believe this is the best way to deliver the vaccine to the at-risk population.'

'This will be a lot of additional work for practices, but general practice is used to running large vaccination programmes. We are confident that GPs and their teams will have the resources they need in order to run the swine flu vaccination programme smoothly and efficiently.'

Dame Barbara Hakin, NHS Employers' lead negotiator, said: ‘This agreement will help primary care services across the UK to provide vaccinations effectively and is a step forward in national preparedness against swine flu.

‘GPs have an absolutely crucial role to play in the plans to combat swine flu and I am confident that they will carry out this role extremely well.'

GPs will be paid £5.25 for every swine flu jab given GPs will be paid £5.25 for every swine flu jab given Take our swine flu survey - and win an iPod Touch!

Pulse is surveying grassroots GPs to find out their views on the imminent swine flu vaccination campaign, and to gauge how prepared they feel for a possible second wave of the pandemic.

Fill in our short 10-question survey and you'll be entered into a draw to win a new iPod Touch worth £165.

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