GPC denies seeking £700m for swine flu vaccination programme

GPC negotiators have denied reports that they are demanding £700m to provide swine flu jabs in England.

Dr Peter Holden, the GPC's lead negotiator on swine flu, said the cost per dose had not even been discussed with the DoH.

Magazine for managers the Health Service Journal claims the BMA has requested £7 per dose, which for England's entire 50 million population to receive twice, as recommended, would add up to £700m.

A BMA spokesperson said negotiations were ongoing.

'The seasonal flu jab costs £7.51, but because the swine flu vaccination programme will be on a much larger scale there are also other issues to consider, not least the workload for general practice.

'We want to ensure GPs are still able to provide a good service to patients ill with conditions other than swine flu and that's why we are continuing to negotiate with the government on this issue,' they added.

Earlier this month BMA Northern Ireland requested £55m to tackle the pandemic among its 1.75 million population, but the assembly government refused.

Extrapolating BMA Northern Ireland's estimated cost to cover England's population, at £31.40 per person, the figure spirals to £1.57bn.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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