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Flu Vaccinations in Mid-Wales
Posted on 9 Oct 2020
Dyfed Powys Local Medical Committee
Increased demand for flu vaccinations this winter is a concern for GPs in Mid Wales.
GPs in Powys have been overwhelmed by demand for flu vaccinations this winter and fear that not everyone who wants a vaccination will get one.
Each year the Chief Medical Officer identifies the priority groups for vaccination – the over 65s, those with certain long-term health conditions and children. In response, GP practices in Powys plan a military style operation to deliver flu vaccinations to their vulnerable patients. This starts in January each year when an order is placed for the vaccinations required the following autumn. To reduce wastage, the size of the order is based on the number of patients who requested a vaccination in the previous year. For the 2020 flu campaign, orders were placed at the beginning of the year, long before COVID-19 was first in the news.
As part of the preparation for this year’s campaign, GP practices were required to consider how they would deliver vaccinations to patients while addressing the additional complications associated with the need for social distancing, the wearing of protective equipment and the availability of sufficient staff. As a direct consequence, each vaccination will take longer to deliver, and fewer patients will be seen at each flu clinic. Taken together this has led to the perfect storm of more eligible patients than normal requesting a vaccination, an insufficient supply of vaccine due to the increased demand not being anticipated at the time of ordering and a shortfall in the number of staff in GP practices required to safely deliver the additional vaccinations.
Dr Peter Horvath-Howard, Medical Director at Dyfed Powys Local Medical Committee said ‘GPs and their teams have gone above and beyond to support patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to support them as we face dramatically increased referral times for hospital treatment and backlogs across NHS services due to the impact of the virus.’ Dr Horvath-Howard went on to say ‘GPs and their staff are working incredibly hard to rapidly embrace new ways of working to ensure both patients and the workforce are protected. GP practices have, however, limited resources to meet additional demand, while continuing to deliver routine consultations for their patients.’
Note to patients
The Local Medical Committee is the representative organisation representing General Medical Practitioners on issues relating to primary care and general medical services.