A lack of primary care nurses ‘could hamper’ new vaccine programmes, warns Unite
A lack of frontline health professionals could hold back the immunisation programmes announced by the government yesterday, a union has warned.
The Department of Health unveiled fresh vaccination programmes on Tuesday to protect against flu, shingles and diarrhoea.
Unite, which includes the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association, said it backed the programmes but also questioned whether the NHS would be able to deliver them.
Unite lead professional officer Obi Amadi said: “While it is excellent that the government is finally doing the right thing, we are concerned that – with the current heavy job losses in the NHS and tight budgets – there will not be enough frontline health professionals to carry out these vital programmes.”
But she added that the union would assist its members to “enable them to participate fully” in the vaccination efforts.
Under the new additions to the immunisation schedule, all children aged two – around 650,000 – will be offered a nasal flu vaccine from September.
Meanwhile, there will also be a shingles vaccination programme for people aged 70, with a catch-up programme for older patients, which will also begin in September. An estimated 800,000 people will be eligible for the vaccine in the first year.
In addition, a rotavirus vaccination programme will start in July 2013 when children under four months will be vaccinated against the highly infectious bug that causes around 140,000 diarrhoea cases a year in under-fives.
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