GP phone lines 'jammed' as flu jab expansion comes without warning

Practices have reported phone lines being 'jammed' with a deluge of calls from patients after the government announced the expansion of flu jabs to patients aged 50-64 from next month without warning GPs.

GPs inundated with calls (Photo: Chainarong Prasertthai/Getty Images)
GPs inundated with calls (Photo: Chainarong Prasertthai/Getty Images)

Some GPs arrived at work on Friday morning unaware that the announcement - which extends NHS flu vaccination to around 11.5m patients aged 50 to 64 years old - had been made public in the early hours.

Others found out via media outlets on Friday morning - leaving practices fielding calls from patients keen to book a flu jab when they had little if any information about the plans.

Wessex LMCs chief executive Dr Nigel Watson told GPonline: 'It has caused a problem. Practices are reporting their phone lines being jammed this morning.

Flu vaccination

'We have had practices saying as soon as they opened their phone lines this morning, they had people calling in to book flu vaccinations. And practices didn’t even know. Some found out via the news this morning. Some will have turned up at surgery unaware.'

Practices should have been warned, the New Forest GP said - perhaps with a letter yesterday ahead of an embargoed message to the media.

GPs took to social media to raise concerns over the lack of warning.

NHS England primary care medical director Dr Nikki Kanani said on Twitter that a message went out to GP practices early on Friday morning - but GPs pointed out it had arrived hours after they had heard the announcement 'on national TV'.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GPs unlikely to begin COVID-19 vaccination for 'at least two weeks', says BMA

GPs unlikely to begin COVID-19 vaccination for 'at least two weeks', says BMA

GP practices are unlikely to receive stocks of COVID-19 vaccine 'for at least another...

JCVI confirms priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination

JCVI confirms priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has published a final...

MHRA approves Pfizer/BioNTech jab paving way for COVID-19 vaccination to start

MHRA approves Pfizer/BioNTech jab paving way for COVID-19 vaccination to start

The MHRA has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in the UK and...

Enhanced service contract for GP practices delivering COVID-19 vaccine revealed

Enhanced service contract for GP practices delivering COVID-19 vaccine revealed

GP practices have until midnight on 7 December to sign up to a COVID-19 enhanced...

Five GP practices a week inspected by CQC during pandemic second wave

Five GP practices a week inspected by CQC during pandemic second wave

The CQC has inspected five GP practices a week in England since the second wave of...

Pregnant women and under-18s will not be offered COVID-19 vaccine

Pregnant women and under-18s will not be offered COVID-19 vaccine

Pregnant women, children and under-18s will not be recommended for routine COVID-19...