Clinical Risk Group
This year’s national flu immunisation programme has identified people with learning disabilities as a clinical risk group and urges an increase in the uptake of vaccination in these groups as the best way to improve the prevention and management of flu
There is an easy read document Protecting People with Learning disabilities against Flu available that talks about why people with learning difficulties are being offered a free flu vaccination; sets out the benefits and explains how the vaccination will be given.
Are People with Learning Disabilities Getting their Free Flu Jabs?
However, Mencap have expressed concern that despite this advice, many GP surgeries are not offering free vaccinations.
They called 100 GP Practices in England and found that 73% said that they categorically did not provide free flu vaccinations for people with a learning disability. In fact they found many suggesting people with a learning disability should go to a pharmacy and pay for a vaccination.
Some GPs also said quite clearly that people with a learning disability were not in the clinical risk groups and that in order to qualify for a free vaccination, they would also need an additional high risk condition.
Active Information Campaign Needed
Mencap is calling on Public Health England and NHS England to actively inform GPs that people with a learning disability should be receiving free flu vaccinations.
Jan Tregelles, chief executive at Mencap, says:
It is clear that Public Health England and NHS England have not done enough to let GPs know that their patients with a learning disability are eligible for free flu vaccinations. This is extremely worrying.”
This is a telephone survey of a very small number of GP surgeries and it is not clear how representative this group of surgeries may be of the national picture, but the finding of over 70% of surgeries not offering the jab is a concerning one. In particular, given that some surgeries were adamant that people with learning disabilities were not in the clinical at risk groups this year.
Let us know your experience of contacting your GP about a free flu vaccination.
National Flu Immunisation Programme 2014/15, Department of Health, Public Health England, NHS England
Protecting People with Learning disabilities against Flu NHS England Easy Read document