Exclusive GP practices in South Wales have been put ‘under enormous strain’ and are now set for a second round of immunisations to help control the ongoing measles outbreak in the region, say LMC leaders.
Dr Ian Millington, a GP in Swansea and secretary of Morgannwg LMC, told Pulse that in addition to doing hundreds of immunisations, practices had been supporting the local out-of-hours service as well as the special immunisation sessions put on at local hospitals.
Cases of measles in Wale continue to rise, with latest figures from Public Health Wales putting the total in the Swansea area – centre of the outbreak – at 693 by Thursday.
‘Thousands of immunisations have been given now, so that’s go to help. Against that, children have gone back to school this week and the opportunity for the infection to spread is increasing,’ he said.
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board is running MMR sessions in comprehensive schools this week to try to catch more teenagers – among the most vulnerable in the current outbreak – who missed the vaccine in the late 1990s and early 2000s during the MMR scare.
Dr Millington added: ‘There is another significant workload ahead for GPs in that all patients who have not been immunised before will need a second dose of MMR – there will be a few thousand of them just in our area.
‘Already we’re talking with the local health board and Public Health Wales about the possibility of running second MMR session if the numbers are so large – there’s a limit to what a practice can deliver against a background of incredibly busy GMS contract work.
‘It’s not for the want of trying. GPs are very resourceful and are doing their best to assist in controlling something they expected but are very disappointed has arrived.’