GPC questions delivery of HPV jabs

Vaccination - National deal would have avoided regional variation in programme roll-out.

The GPC has attacked the DoH for rolling out the HPV vaccination programme without fully consulting GPs.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said last week that its implementation had been badly handled. The GPC will consider publishing its own guidance on HPV if the DoH fails to clarify its advice.

'Most vaccination campaigns are conducted nationally, and they are fully planned and discussed with professionals,' Dr Buckman said.

'But HPV is one of a group of plans in recent years that have not been discussed with GPs and it has been very hard to work out what is supposed to happen to particular groups of patients.'

It is strange to organise a vaccination campaign that prevents a killer disease on a local level, he added.

'There are questions that need to be answered about practical problems that GPs are experiencing all over the country.

'But because it is not being operated centrally it is very difficult to give generic advice that holds together across the whole of the UK,' Dr Buckman said.

'Surely it is a UK problem and it shouldn't be handled this way.'

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the GPC had argued for HPV vaccination to be implemented via a directed enhanced service to prevent variation and inequity for patients.

Problems have also emerged in Scotland, with a breakdown in negotiations between the government and BMA Scotland over a GP-led catch-up programme for school leavers. The programme will now be carried out at a local level and will vary across Scotland.

Meanwhile, Dr Buckman added that, despite meetings with DoH officials, it had not been made clear why Cervarix was the vaccine of choice.

'Most GPs don't understand why Cervarix was chosen over Gardasil,' he said.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey added that some health professionals are asking for their children to be vaccinated with Gardasil rather than Cervarix.

A DoH spokesman said: 'Cervarix was selected because it scored higher than the competitor in the adjudication process against pre-agreed award criteria. These criteria have been shared with GPC.'

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