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Listening exercise sham confirmed

From Margaret Hooper

Practice Manager

Lowestoft, Suffolk

The Government reaction to the lack of flu vaccines is disgraceful. In Lowestoft we were the first practice to run out as deliveries from MASTA were on time. We ordered last year based on historical information and take-up ( we usually struggle to get the last few in about January).

We began to schedule and made available our October clinics after August bank holiday and we restricted the appointments to match the number of vaccines plus reserve that we would be getting in.

It became pretty evident the second week in September, when the first clinic was fully booked (more than 850), that we were going to run out.

We called on our reserves. We ordered more from our local pharmacist. We restricted jabs to only those meeting the Government criteria ( which was expanded this year!).

Once we had completed our third and final Saturday clinic the problems began. Patients became abusive and demanding and we even did an interview on BBC Radio Suffolk because of one disgruntled patient.

We have ordered from the Department of Health and are currently keeping a list of those who ask, but these will be prioritised to clinical need. All the publicity on pandemic and avian flu has not helped.

The way round this would be to make vaccines available from Farrillon instead of GP practices (so we don't have to worry about over-ordering, thus wasting vaccines and money) and then pay us for each one we do.

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