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Flu vaccine payment will cover under-65s

GPs will receive a nationally agreed fee for the first time for vaccinating at-risk under-65s against influenza under the new contract.

The flu vaccination fee had not been revealed as Pulse went to press. GP negotiators hinted that the payment for immunising both over-65s and at-risk under-65s would be 'broadly the same' as the £6.80 item-of-service fee currently paid to GPs for vaccinating the elderly.

In contrast to childhood vaccinations, informed dissent will apply so GPs do not lose pay when eligible patients refuse to be vaccinated.

Flu vaccination is an opt-in directed enhanced service that PCOs will be expected to commission from practices or provide themselves.

But GP negotiators offered reassurance that practices that want to continue providing the service are unlikely to

have it snatched away from them and commissioned elsewhere.

GPC negotiator Dr Laurence Buckman said PCOs would not gain financially by taking flu immunisation away from GPs. 'The PCO can't take any money covered by the direct investment guarantee. They can ask another provider to provide it but they can't undercut it,' he said.

Fellow negotiator Dr Andrew Dearden hinted the fee would be the same for both age groups.

'An under-65 at risk needs the jab as much as an over-65. If the need is the same the payment is the same.'

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