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Not laughing, but crying

I’d like to summarise a couple of recent news stories for you. I’d like to, but I’m not sure I can, on account of the laugh/cry thing. I’m referring to the following little gems which have hit the headlines in the last week or two.

First, the story that CQRS, the Calculating Quality Reporting Service, is not able to calculate quality, so can’t report on it and therefore isn’t exactly what you’d call a service . Which means that, to get paid, someone will have to manually upload information about pneumococcal, childhood flu and shingles vaccine, and that ‘someone’ is, let’s think, oh yes, us.

Second, the ‘news’ that the shingles vaccine has, in fact, run out – which I qualify with apostrophes because I’m not sure this is properly ‘news’ given that it’s the second time it’s happened since the vaccine was ‘launched’ in September.

The implication is as follows, and I’m determined to get this out in one sentence: we find ourselves in a position where we can’t rely on a computing system which can’t extract the relevant data about a vaccine which we can’t get hold of in order to qualify for ‘extra funding’ we can’t earn.

They assure us everything will be fine – QOF extractions guaranteed and, who knows, shingles eradicated – by April 2014. I may be laughing now. But I could well be crying then.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can email him at and follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield.