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GPs advised ‘do not follow DH flu instructions’

Practices have been advised by the GPC to ignore instructions from the Chief Medical Officer over how to invite eligible patients for flu vaccination.

A recent letter from Professor Dame Sally Davies outlining details of the 2012/13 flu vaccination campaign said GPs should send all eligible patients a letter inviting them to a clinic or to make an appointment.

But the GPC has said this ‘does not reflect the requirements’ of the nationally directed enhanced service and it is up to practices how they advertise flu vaccination.

Dr Bill Beeby, chair of the GPC clinical and prescribing subcommittee, said the aim of the programme was to get people vaccinated and it does not matter how GPs invited them to get a flu jab.

He said: ‘Most practices have been evolving their call and recall systems over the years.

‘Flu vaccination letters cost hundreds of pounds but people don’t read them or respond to them in the way you want.

‘We have been looking at other ways including messages in the surgery, reminders with repeat prescriptions – there are a number of ways which don’t include sending letters.

‘It is up to practices to decide how to communicate with their population.’

Surrey and Sussex LMC has also recommended GPs do not agree and return the checklist included in the CMO’s letter to their PCT.

Dr Julius Parker wrote to local practices: ‘Practices may wish to acknowledge receipt of the checklist, the contents of which have been noted, and confirm their compliance with the terms of the 2012/13 Flu Immunisation DES and/or any appropriate LES for which the practice has signed up.’