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Now even swine flu is GPs' fault

It's ridiculous to call GPs money-grabbers for trying to ensure swine flu doesn't bankrupt them

By Richard Hoey

It's ridiculous to call GPs money-grabbers for trying to ensure swine flu doesn't bankrupt them

A good editor is supposed to be perfectly attuned to the views of their readers.

The Daily Mail's Paul Dacre is presumably a very good editor, given the number of people who read his paper - but something seems to have gone badly wrong in the way he treats stories about general practice.

Mr Dacre must have had a very bad GP experience sometime in his past, because while the public continues to award GPs unrivalled satisfaction scores, the Mail treats them like something between Victorian money lenders and members of the Mafia.

Even by the Daily Mail's usual, wildly over the top, cartoon-villain standards, the piece in the paper today on swine flu vaccination is gratuitous and bizarre.

The Mail is attacking GPs for appearently having the temerity to try to secure the basic standard payment for swine flu vaccination, so that swine flu doesn't have the unfortunate side effect of financially ruining practices.

And its calculation of a £27,000 pay rise for GPs is based on the other-worldly assumption that a vaccination programme will not cost a single penny to run.

There seems to be an assumption, not only among the editorial staff of the Daily Mail, but also in certain quarters of the Department of Health, that GPs can just bung swine flu vaccines into routine flu immunisation clinics.

If only that could be so. Unfortunately, the risk groups involved are very different.

Young children and pregnant women are likely to be first in the queue for swine flu vaccination, rather than the over-65s prioritised for the seasonal campaign, and that mismatch presents a real headache for GPs.

It is a headache that £7.51 per vaccine, if that is what practices end up getting, will do little to soothe.

By Richard Hoey, Pulse editor

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