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GPC to meet with DH officials to clear up flu vaccination ‘confusion’

GP leaders are planning to meet with senior Department of Health officials about the seasonal flu vaccination programme, to try to stop ‘confusing’ advice being sent out to GPs, Pulse has learned.

Dr Dean Marshall, GPC lead on vaccinations, told Pulse the GPC would be raising a range of issues with the DH, in particular cases where GPs receive differing or contradictory advice from the JCVI, the chief medical officer (CMO) and contractual agreements.

The move comes after Pulse revealed GPs were given contradictory advice from NHS Employers and Public Health England over whether they could use inactivated flu vaccine to routinely vaccinate two- and three-year-olds once stocks of the live vaccine Fluenz expire.

Dr Marshall said: ‘The idea is to try to get a meeting with a variety of people to sit down and try and make sure the process runs a bit more smoothly than it currently is. 

‘The number one issue we’re trying to resolve is the disconnect between what’s advised by the JCVI, what comes out from the CMO about who to vaccinate and what to do and the contract that’s negotiated either nationally or locally to do the flu vaccination.

‘What we’re finding is there is differing or confusing information given out to GPs and they are getting incredibly confused because it’s not clear about whose advice to follow.’

Dr Marshall said another key reason for the meeting is to clarify GPs’ medicolegal position where differing advice had been given.

Dr Marshall said: ‘For example, with the issue recently about using a different type of flu vaccine if we couldn’t get the one recommended for kids – we want to make sure GPs are covered for doing it medicolegally if they follow that advice.’

Pulse understands a meeting planned between the GPC and the CMO last week was cancelled at the last minute, but the GPC is continuing to press for discussions.