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GPs forced to mop up child vaccination errors at hospital trust

GPs are having to follow-up with babies who may have missed important childhood vaccinations after software problems at a local trust failed to recall those who had missed appointments, Pulse can reveal.

Managers at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust have identified a problem with their software where infants who fail to attend their first appointment were not automatically recalled.

The trust took over the management of the child immunisation call and recall service a year ago, but have had to ‘put other processes in place' so that GPs follow-up with patients affected by the IT error.

LMC leaders said the trust's management had been a ‘dog's dinner', with letters not sent, some sent twice to the same child and some with incorrect addresses.

Dr Paul Roblin, chief executive of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire LMC said: ‘It's their job to generate call lists and get the right children along. But they've invested too few staff. Administratively, it's a dog's dinner.'

‘The child immunisation programme is there for a purpose. Children are at risk of getting whooping cough, mumps.

‘There is a national protocol governing when immunisations should be administered and there are reasons why it should be adhered to.'

Dr Roblin said they had notified managers at the trust and their PCT, but that they were ‘in denial' about the problem.

A spokesperson from Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust said a software problem had been identified and was being resolved.

They said: ‘All patients continue to receive their first appointment letter inviting them to attend for their immunisations.

‘A small minority fail to attend this first appointment and a small problem with the software enabling automatic recalls has been identified.'

‘We have put other processes in place to allow GPs to identify these patients in order to follow up with them directly. We are continuing to work closely with our partners to resolve the issue as soon as possible. This has also been raised with other organisations who use the same software.'

A spokesperson for NHS Buckinghamshire said: ‘Child immunisation invitations are now currently going out across Buckinghamshire. 

‘NHS Buckinghamshire has also offered to meet with the LMC to discuss this further.'