NICE wants GPs to visit parents over missed jabs

GPs should consider home visits to persuade parents who fail to bring children in for vaccination appointments that they should have the jabs, according to latest NICE guidance.

Dr George Kassianos

The guidance for children and young people under the age of 19, published last week, is the first to tackle immunisation rates and aims to cut inequalities across England.

It makes recommendations on all vaccinations and specifically the vaccination programme for babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B-positive.

NICE states that PCTs and practices should have a structured, systematic method for recording, maintaining and transferring accurate data on the vaccination status of all children and young people.

Every practice should identify a health professional responsible for local childhood immunisation programmes, the guidance says. NICE also wants practices to extend clinic times to boost access and ensure there are enough immunisation appointments.

Oxford GP Dr Anthony Harnden, co-opted expert of the NICE Public Health Interventions Advisory committee for this guideline, told GP: 'Despite the importance of immunisation a significant minority of children and young people are either unimmunised or incompletely immunised. This guidance is straightforward and sensible.'

But RCGP immunisation spokesman and Berkshire GP Dr George Kassianos warned against making GPs do home visits to discuss vaccinations.

'You should offer advice on the phone and arrange a convenient time for parents to bring children to the surgery before thinking about offering a home visit.'

Dr Kassianos added that it is crucial that PCTs have a structured method in place for recording vaccination status. 'PCTs must inform GPs of any vaccinations given to children outside of the practice so we can see which vaccinations are still required.'

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