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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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Readers' comments (8)

  • Has anyone thought of asking trained staff to give up a few hours to help get these vaccines done?

    I would be more than happy to assist my local GP surgery to get some done.

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  • Really, you think we should help out for free? I would be more than happy to help out giving vaccines but I would certainly expect to be paid.

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  • Totally agree with the second comment.

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  • It is with a heavy heart that our society announces the death of Al Truism. He had spent the last few years in sheltered accommodation as they hurly burly of 21st Century society and the maturing population brought up in the days of Thatcherism where "looking after number 1" vied with "Greed is good" forgot about the old ideology of putting others first and doing the right thing and taking the care out of carer.

    An ever decreasing number of volunteers still keep the old ideas alive, but as their numbers dwindle, society's cynicism proliferates to become the new norm.

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  • Anonymous 12.41.

    Fab post.

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  • Anonymous | 1-May-2013 12:41 pm

    One would hope that you are not suggesting that nurses who give selflessly of their time and care on an everyday basis, are somehow behaving selfishly because they are not prepared to work for nothing.

    To suggest so, in the current climate of pay being frozen for years, pension and job cuts and members of our profession facing increasing hardship, would be arrogant, insulting and ignorant. But you weren't suggesting that, were you?

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  • Anonymous | 1-May-2013 12:41 pm
    It would appear though, that A. Sinine is very much alive. Unfortunately.

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  • I already give much of my time free - overtime that is never claimed (sometimes 2-3 hours weekly), breaks not taken, heavy workloads that should really require another part time nurse. I also work for free for a homeless charity and the food bank.
    Why oh why should I now work for free for GP's who will be paid for every vaccination given? The GP who I work part time for (I do have 2 jobs) has a stonking great house with beautiful furnishings, wonderful outlook and 2 posh cars on the drive. He also has 3 other good properties he rents out. He and his glossy wife holiday in the carribean at least 4x year.
    In contrast I live alone in a small council flat (widowed young), have a 12 year old car, support my grown up family who are struggling to hold onto their jobs, (one is disabled), their homes and just live week to week. Our only holiday this year (first holiday for 3 years) is a Sun £15 holiday 4 day break in Devon out of season. I have not had a pay review for 2 years, and I have to supplement my wages by working in the out of hours.
    So, to all the self righteous angels out there who think that I should give more of my time for nothing - think on! Halo's have a habit of slipping down and choking.

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