Swine calls 'overwhelm' GPs

17 November 2009 09:37
GP clinics in Devon have said they are struggling with a flood of calls from patients about swine flu vaccinations.Some surgeries have been receiving thousands of calls, said the Devon Local Medical Committee, which urged patients to wait their turn. [LNB]GPs will first vaccinate about 200,000 priority cases, such as frontline healthcare workers and at-risk patients. [LNB]But it could eventually be rolled out to the whole population. [LNB]Some Devon practices received their vaccines several weeks ago, while others only had theirs on Monday.[LNB] The logistics of mass vaccination are extremely testing, but we will get there Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, chair of the Devon Local Medical Committee Barnstaple GP, Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, chair of the Devon Local Medical Committee, told BBC News the delay had left many surgeries facing thousands of calls. [LNB]"We have had patients contacting practices across the county asking when they will be invited in. [LNB]"Unfortunately we have not been able to give them that advice in a definitive way." [LNB]He added: "All the people in target groups will be invited. Please don't phone the practices." [LNB]He said GPs would "rise to the challenge" and there were 100,000 doses in GP practices, with the remainder to come "over the next couple of weeks or so". [LNB]Dr Sanford-Wood said: "The logistics of mass vaccination are extremely testing, but we will get there. [LNB]"Most GPs will be laying on extra surgeries and weekend opening." [LNB]The Department of Health said in a statement: "The only fair way to get the limited stock we have to every surgery quickly was, initially, to send one box of vaccine to every GP. [LNB]"This way, patients who are most at risk can be targeted in every surgery. If we sent more boxes to one surgery, that would delay getting vaccine to everyone else. [LNB]"From last week, we have advised that GPs should talk to their PCT to discuss arrangements moving forward so that, as we have more supplies, they can be distributed proportionally."

Source: BBC_Sport