Inner city GPs to lose out on swine flu deal

Practices with low uptake of seasonal flu jabs may miss out on thousands of pounds in funding because they will struggle to hit targets for swine flu jabs.

George Kassianos
George Kassianos

Under the deal struck last week, UK practices receive a basic £5.25 per swine flu jab administered. But to trigger additional benefits, GPs must give the jabs to at least 3% more at-risk patients than last year's UK national average uptake of seasonal flu.

The 2008 uptake rate was 73.5% in over-65s and 47.2% in at-risk groups.

Only practices whose swine flu uptake is at least 3% ahead of these levels will have their PE7 and PE8 patient experience QOF targets lowered.

Practices that hit this level of uptake earn a 10% drop in the upper thresholds and 20% lower bottom thresholds for PE7 and PE8.

If practice performance remains the same as last year, lowering the threshold of the PE8 indicator by 10% will more than double the number of practices scoring top marks, worth £4,437 to an average-sized surgery.

But RCGP immunisation spokesman Dr George Kassianos warned the swine flu vaccination was far tougher to deliver than seasonal flu jabs.

It is time-consuming to draw, mix and administer, and practices will struggle to get patients in for both doses, especially those with traditionally low uptake of flu jabs, he said.

‘Don't expect your nurses and doctors to be able to do as many as the annual influenza vaccination,' he warned.

‘Many inner city practices have difficulty with uptake and there needs to be a national campaign to tell people to get immunised,' he said.

The jabs are expected to be ready to be administered towards the end of October.

  • What do you think of the swine flu deal?
  • Read the full version of this story in this week's issue of GP dated 25 September


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