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GPs scoff at paper's claims about vaccine record fraud

GPs and immunisation experts have dismissed newspaper allegations that practices massaged vaccine records to boost pay.

The Department of Health had initially warned it was taking reports in the Sun 'very seriously' but it later emerged it had seen no evidence to support the paper's claims.

The Sun reported last week that in an unnamed London PCT, children were recorded as having received up to 60 per cent more vaccines than they normally would. A leaked document – the Summary of Data Quality Issues – supposedly showed some children were offered as many as 30 vaccines, and up to nine in one day.

But Professor Brent Taylor, professor of child health at University College London, derided the story as 'pretty ridiculous'.

He said: 'There's no reason why any doctor would do that. The reward for reaching immunisation targets is pathetic and doesn't justify what would effectively be assault. I suspect a cock-up with the data, but of course nobody has seen it.'

Dr Peter Holden, GPC negotiator and a GP in Matlock, Derbyshire, described the allegations as 'scurrilous', adding: 'I think it's Government spin, as part of a campaign to denigrate and devalue GPs and make the public mistrust us and think we're not worth the money.'

But the department denied the newspaper's claim that an investigation, led by public health minister Caroline Flint, was under way. A spokesperson said: 'If the Sun believes doctors are deliberately giving more vaccines than children need for fraudulent claims then we would like to see the evidence.'

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