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Flu vaccine blame game

GPs are to be trusted with the task of ordering their own flu vaccine supplies again this year.

GPs are to be trusted with the task of ordering their own flu vaccine supplies again this year.

News that the procurement system will remain unchanged, at least for now, emerged from the Department of Health with barely a whimper ­ in contrast to the song and dance surrounding the launch last November of the Government's 'urgent review' into arrangements for ordering vaccines.

As bird flu caught the public imagination and vaccine stocks fell 'dangerously low', the department dumped the blame on GPs.

Immunisation chief Dr David Salisbury claimed there were only two possible explanations for the empty fridges ­ either GPs had foolishly under-ordered vaccines or they had irresponsibly doled out doses to the worried-well.

No apology was forthcoming when it became clear embarrassing mistakes had been made ­ by the department rather than GPs.

Record vaccine uptake

Meanwhile, GPs were plugging away in the background to achieve record vaccine uptake.

Now practices are again left with the unenviable task of 'guesstimating' how much vaccine they will need. Order too much and you will be left to carry the financial can. Order too little and you will risk vilification for factors completely outside your control.

Many GPs will heave a sigh of relief that the department will not meddle with the system for now. But they will also be relying on the Government to get its sums right this time round.

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