Practices urged to prepare for 'massive' vaccination work

Practices must be supported by health authorities to deliver the 'massive' new vaccination programme, the chair of GPC Scotland has said.

Dr McDevitt: Flu vaccinations for infants will add most work
Dr McDevitt: Flu vaccinations for infants will add most work

Dr Alan McDevitt called for support from health agencies in Scotland to help practices tackle large workload from four vaccinations added to the immunisation schedule this year.

From July, practices across the UK will need to immunise children aged four months against rotavirus as part of the routine childhood vaccinations. By September, they will be vaccinating teenagers with MMR, infants against flu and elderly people against shingles. A dose of the meningitis C vaccine will now be offered at age 12-13, instead of four months.

Dr McDevitt told The Scotsman newspaper that GPs were already 'maxed out' with growing workload. He had called for appropriately skilled school nurses and district nurses to help provide some of the vaccinations, and for health agencies to supply additional health workers to support the work.

Speaking to GP, Dr McDevitt said practices would rise to the challenge but this would prove difficult against a backdrop of high workload. 'It's a lot [to begin] in one year - a massive change. But we can't help that. We have to find a way of doing it,' he said.

Dr McDevitt said GPC Scotland supported the changes to the vaccination programme, but that 'there is also an acknowledgement of how hard it will be for practices and their staff'.

All four new vaccination programmes will be underway by September. This is traditionally a busy time for practices, when routine flu vaccination begins.

Dr McDevitt said the extra flu jabs for two-year-olds were likely to be the biggest workload impact for practices out of all the additions to the vaccination programme.

He said practices may look to jointly hire nurses to manage the extra workload.

Practices in England were told last week that they will receive just £1.50 for offering the MMR vaccine to each child aged 10-16 as part of the catch-up programme. Payment for vaccination is already covered by the global sum.

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