Exclusive: Over half of NHS trusts limit access to HPV vaccine

Patients could be unfairly denied HPV jabs after a GP survey found that more than half of primary care organisations (PCOs) were limiting access to the vaccine.

Sarah Gray
Sarah Gray

More than half of GPs who took part said that their PCO had asked them not to vaccinate outside the UK’s national programme.

But almost three quarters said the programme should be expanded to include women over the age of 25, and half thought boys as well as girls should be vaccinated.

A total of 32% of GPs said they were currently vaccinating patients outside the national programme. But more than two thirds of the 101 respondents said they would be prepared to do so if a patient who was not sexually active, but fell outside the programme, asked for the jab.

Last month GP revealed that PCTs were pressuring GPs to restrict access to the HPV vaccine in order to save money.

Cornwall GP Dr Sarah Gray, who has a special interest in women's health, said the HPV vaccination programme was developed on cost principles that may not translate to the needs of individual patients.

‘PCTs across the country have been allowed to develop a local stance on the ethical dilemmas this has created,’ she said. ‘Clinical indication has become blurred by cost implication and another postcode lottery has been allowed to develop.’

A total of 93% of GPs said they believed the HPV jab was necessary. But some 18% said it could encourage promiscuity among young people, and could drive up rates of STIs.

Just 5% of respondents said they had seen adverse reactions to the HPV jab.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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