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GP surgeries should text or phone the parents of children who have missed their MMR jab, the Government's health protection chief urges today.
Duncan Selbie calls on family doctors to go through the 'painstaking task' of searching their records to hunt for unvaccinated patients.
Families - Reminders - Surgery
Families which have slipped through the net should be called or sent text reminders inviting them to the surgery, he says.
Mr Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, also calls on the NHS to offer more vaccination clinics outside normal working hours.
Daily - Mail - Health - Service - Needs
Writing in the Daily Mail, he accepts that the health service needs to provide other appointments 'in addition to the traditional trip to the doctor'.
Clinics could be held in nurseries, high street pharmacies, children's centres or any other 'popular places where families visit', he suggests.
Mail - Campaign - Week - Uptake - MMR
The Mail launched a major campaign last week to improve the uptake of the MMR jab and other childhood immunisations. NHS figures show the number of children receiving their measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations has fallen to its lowest level in seven years. In the worst affected areas – which include middle-class London boroughs – a third of five-year-olds have not had both recommended jabs.
The Mail is urging the Government to launch a mass publicity drive to reassure parents the vaccinations are both safe and essential. We also want the NHS to introduce text message reminders or letters informing families of appointments.
Mr - Selbie - Executive - Public - Health
Mr Selbie, who has been chief executive of Public Health England since its creation in 2013, writes: 'We have to offer sufficiently flexible appointments at convenient times and places for busy families.' He said GPs and nurses would need help in the task of finding and contacting families. 'This includes reminders by phone and text,' he added.
But his suggestion that GPs take on extra work by tracking down unvaccinated patients is likely...
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