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NHS reforms spark vaccination fears

The Government's expert advisers on vaccination and immunisation have written to the chief medical officer to highlight a series of potential risks to patient care posed by the NHS  reforms.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation wrote to Dame Sally Davies warning about the effect of a period of transition on the national immunisation programme.

The Department of Health would not release the letter or Dame Sally's reply.

But minutes from the committee's February meeting reveal numerous concerns over the impact of the reforms, which will see immunisation programmes commissioned by the NHS Commissioning Board to a specification developed by Public Health England, informed by JCVI advice.

The minutes state: ‘Under proposed arrangements directors of public health appear to lack robust levers to influence public health measures. While they may advise the NHS Commissioning Board, it was unclear if the board would know when it needed advice. There may soon be a shortage of qualified directors of public health. It was also unclear how schools-based programmes would be resourced and supported.'