Flu Jab: NHS Delays for Over 65s

Average Practice 400 Patients Behind Previous Year

flu jab londonOfficial figures show that the average GP practice is now 400 flu jabs behind last years figures for vaccination of over 65s.

Comparing uptake of the flu jab so far in 2018 vs the previous year shows:

  • 45% of over 65s vaccinated against flu so far this year vs 69% vaccinated by end November 2017
  • To catch up, GP practices would have to deliver 2.5m jabs – around 400 per practice – by the end of November

The delays in delivery of the vaccination have been blamed on staggered delivery of the flu vaccine for over 65s.

This is the first year that over 65s have been given a different flu jab – the adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine (aTIV), deliveries of which have been phased with 40% in September, 20% in October, and the remaining 40% in November.

NHS England have confirmed that deliveries are now complete, but that leaves GPs working hard to catch up on the backlog. According to GP magazine Pulse, nearly 70% of GPs had experienced a shortage of this flu vaccine at their practice.

Now that stocks are in place, there is an inevitable backlog of demand and the media has highlighted cases of pensioners queuing for an hour to have the flu jab.

Dr Richard Vautrey, chairman of the GP committee at the British Medical Association (BMA), said it had not been an easy time for GPs.

“As practices begin planning for next year, NHS England must learn lessons from the disruption seen in the past weeks.

“Adequate notice and guidance to all practices must be given well in advance of the ordering period, to allow both practices and manufacturers to ensure there are no further supply problems for next year.”

Despite the delays, over 65s are encouraged to have the flu jab, as Public Health England head of immunisations, Dr Mary Ramsay, explains:

“We encourage all older adults to get an appointment with their GP or pharmacist by early December before flu typically starts to circulate later in the month.

“However, it’s always worth getting vaccinated even if it’s later in winter – it’s the best defence we have against an unpredictable virus.”

Flu Jabs in London

Private flu jabs are available at The Smart Clinics based in Brompton Cross (North London) and Wandsworth (South London), where full stock of the vaccination is available. Their private clinics offer generous appointment times and extended opening hours to suit busy schedules.

On behalf of The Smart Clinics, a spokesperson explained:

“Flu can be a very nasty disease, which can leave patients feeling run-down and below par for weeks after. The flu jab is a fast, safe and effective means of ensuring protection from the inconvenience and unpleasantness caused by the virus.

“We highly recommend the flu jab for all patients, not just those deemed at risk.”

The Smart Clinics

The Smart Clinics is best known for its unique membership based private GP service with access to a friendly team of experienced doctors, which entitles individuals, families and corporate members to unlimited GP access for a monthly fee. Private dentistry is also available as an optional extra.

However, non-members are also welcome to access The Smart Clinics’ GPs, nurses and healthcare professionals on a ‘pay as you go’ basis.

The Smart Clinics brings together a host of medical professionals offering patients high quality health services in a choice of accessible London clinic locations.

For more information contact us on info@thesmartclinics.co.uk or call  020 7052 0070.

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