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Scots GPs demand revamp of NHS 24

Elderly people living alone or without an independent means of visiting their GP are missing out on flu vaccination, a new study reveals.

The researchers found GPs were successful at persuading elderly patients to have the vaccine but needed to take

extra steps to improve uptake in vulnerable groups.

The survey of 444 elderly patients found 87 per cent of those who lived with others had received the vaccine in the past year, compared with 74 per cent of those who lived alone .

Uptake was 85 per cent in patients with an independent means of transport but 77 per cent in those who did not.

The study, published in Vaccine (May), found unvaccinated patients often had concerns over the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine. When a GP had explained its benefits 88 per cent of patients were vaccinated, compared with 71 per cent otherwise.

Study leader Dr Victoria Burns, research fellow in psychoneuroimmunology at the University of Birmingham, said: 'These results are the first to show those living alone or without an independent means of getting to the GP were less likely to be vaccinated.'

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