Editorial: PCOs must help GPs to buddy up on swine flu

Is this the calm before the storm?

GPs are no doubt mulling over this thought as the number of new swine flu cases continues to fall.

Will the predictions of a second, more severe, swine flu wave later this year be realised?

Now is clearly the time to make the most of the lull and prepare a response to what may be an explosion in workload.

This week's GP takes an in-depth look at a number of swine flu issues, including GPs' current lack of enthusiasm for receiving the swine flu jab.

Our poll of 216 GPs found that 29 per cent did not want to be vaccinated and 29 per cent were unsure.

Now is clearly the time for the DoH to make the case for vaccination. After all, if healthcare workers do not want jabs then why should the public?

Another poll finding is that most GPs feel that they have not received enough support from their primary care organisation (PCO).

Indeed, half of GPs could face losing thousands of pounds because their PCOs have failed to set up 'buddying up' arrangements between practices in preparation for the second wave.

Failure to comply may mean that practices could miss out on income protection should the QOF be suspended.

PCOs must ensure that no practice loses out financially as a consequence of swine flu.

GPs have already won praise for their 'fantastic response' to the pandemic from no lesser authority than England's recently appointed flu czar Ian Dalton.

For example, GPC West Midlands reported last month that workload increased by up to 400 per cent in some practices as a result of swine flu.

Clearly, PCOs can count on GPs to pull out all the stops to help their patients against any second wave of swine flu.

Now is the time for PCOs to deliver a similar 'fantastic response' to practices in a show of support before the calm turns into a swine flu storm.

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