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The GPC has told GPs to boycott Government recommendations to vaccinate 16- to 24-year-olds with MMR unless they are properly paid for the extra work.

The instructions come as GPs face a surge in workload for MMR vaccination, with many universities urging their students to visit a doctor for the vaccine.

Department of Health officials have responded to soaring cases of mumps in young adults by issuing advice that everyone in the age group should be vaccinated.

The department said it considers MMR in this age group as an enhanced service, but that it is up to GPs and PCOs to hammer out arrangements for additional payment.

But many of the PCOs contacted by Pulse had no clear policy on MMR vaccination even in areas where universities were running student awareness campaigns.

GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum told Pulse GPs should turn away young people seeking MMR and contact their LMC to find out if they were being offered payment.

'If there is extra work it needs to be resourced through a locally enhanced service,' he said.

'We would be encouraging LMCs to make sure there is

local provision.'

Some PCOs, including South Birmingham PCT, Greater Glasgow Health Board and Eastbourne Downs PCT, are considering setting up locally enhanced services for MMR, in the case of South Birmingham after pressure from the local LMC.

Dr Robert Morley, deputy secretary of Birmingham LMC, said: 'Our PCTs are aware that they will need to commission this as a locally enhanced service if they want GPs to do it.'

Dr George Kassianos, RCGP immunisation spokes-person and a GP in Bracknell, Berkshire, agreed that an immunisation campaign would only succeed if GPs were 'contracted to do it'.

Immunisation officials have blamed the department for the slow progress, saying it had failed to provide clear instructions to PCOs about their responsibilities.

Dr Nicol Black, district immunisation co-ordinator in Newcastle, said: 'It's very disappointing; they're just covering their own backside without offering clear direction to PCTs.

'It's going to end up being very patchy.'

By Emma Wilkinson

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