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GPs reprimanded over MMR strike-off threat

GPs have been reprimanded for threatening to strike off an entire family after the parents refused to give their daughter the MMR vaccine.

GPs at the World's End Health Centre in Chelsea, west London, sent a letter to the parents of two-year-old Georgina Kellock stating if they did not respond to an MMR reminder, 'deregistration' would 'go ahead within 14 days'.

GPC deputy chair Dr Hamish Meldrum condemned the actions but said he understood the dilemma facing GPs. 'I have a huge amount of sympathy for doctors in this situation, it's intolerable.

'But the answer is to get the rules changed, not to do things that the GMC would not approve of. That's really all we can do until this ridiculous rule is changed.'

Dr Orietta Emiliani, a salaried GP who signed the letter to the Kellocks, spoke exclusively to Pulse.

She said meeting vaccine uptake targets was not the motivation for the letter.

'We are removing a lot of ghosts from our list. We are very strict. We sometimes send a patient six or seven letters but they don't even bother to respond to one. We found that if we were blunt we would get a better response.

'It sounds awful that we are threatening, but in our area there are different cultures, refugees and so on, and

when they see something from the Government they just

bin it.'

Dr Emiliani said she stressed the lifesaving importance of immunisation to parents. 'I come from Italy, where it is not compulsory to have MMR, but the child can't go to school if they're not immunised.'

Kensington and Chelsea PCT stopped the practice deregistering the family.

By Jacqueline Head

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