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Study suggests GPs are being unfairly blamed over Ca referrals

GPs have hit the target for influenza vaccine uptake in the over-65s, despite significant supply problems at the start of the campaign.

Department of Health end-of-campaign figures show practices vaccinated 71.4 per cent of elderly patients, a 0.4 per cent increase on last year's figure.

It reflects a huge effort by practices to overcome problems caused by the withdrawal of supplies by vaccine manufacturer Chiron.

But the department's campaign to target at-risk under-65s has fallen flat, with just 42 per cent of patients vaccinated.

Many practices struggled to extract data on at-risk patients from their systems and complained it was time-consuming to provide age-stratified uptake figures.

The department said it had no plans to set a target in at-risk younger patients, but that it expected uptake to improve next year. But the low uptake has raised fears that GPs may miss out on quality points for vaccinating patients with chronic diseases.

GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said: 'It's well known that some younger people who should be vaccinated are less keen. It may be that they have been asked to attend but have declined.'

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