And really given this government's absolute resolution to privatise as much of the NHS as they can get away with, is it any surprise that the Conservative government are planning to sell PCT's and NHS Direct and NHS walk in Centers to Boots and Bupa? And that Sainsburys have given over highly valuable commercial floor space *FREE* of charge to groups of GP private businesses (consortia) to set up surgeries in supermarkets?
If you read my blog yesterday and previously, you will see that one of the questions I wanted to ask Andrew Lansley, was indeed about supplies and stocks of the vaccine. I had heard weeks ago that there was likely to be a shortage and that also weeks ago the supply of Tamiflu suspension for children was in very short supply. If I knew weeks ago, why then didn't the Government and Andrew Lansley? It is their job to know, or are we to assume that they did know and rather than spend money on ordering enough vaccine and anti-virals to protect all of the country's citizens, they decided to take one huge gamble in the H1N1 virus not being as bad as it was being reported to be, like last year? Well if Andrew Lansley had done his homework properly and if the interim Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies had also been more on the ball, they would know of course that it is the second year of a "pandemic" that is often the worse and they would have taken the correct precautions to protect the nations as best as they possible could!
Now the Department of Health have released a statement informing us that there is not a shortage, despite GP surgeries reporting they have run out!
I would also like to put it to Mr Lansley, that even if there were stocks for every single person and they took up the offer of a free vaccination, it would now be too late as we are nearing the peak of the flu-season. I explained on yesterday's report that the flu-vaccine takes around 2 weeks to give partial immunity and about 4 weeks to give full immunity to the strains of flu contained in the vaccine. The time to have organised this campaign was last year, when the previous Labour government had *ALREADY* done so.
The question must also be asked of Mr Lansley, why he cancelled the arrangements already put in place for this year's *EXPECTED* flu epidemic and referred to Labour's arrangements as "unnecessary and too costly"? And put absolutely *NOTHING* in their place!
The whole thing has now descended into debacle with chaos and confusion, with GP surgeries reporting they have run out of vaccine and some surgeries reporting they have no idea when stocks will be replenished. Less than half of those in the "at risk" groups have taken up the vaccine. And now that the government has finally caved into pressure to run an advertising flu awareness campaign, the take up of the vaccine will see demand for it soar, so where are the stocks to supply need? Have we got them or not?
The last entry to CAS about vaccine and anti-viral supplies was on 23rd December 2010 - again this points to gross professional misconduct, as Andrew Lansley has know about the possibility of this problem since early September 2010.
Vaccine Update For 23rd December 2010
Read Letter from: Dr Keith Ridge - Chief Pharmaceutical Officer
What the hell is going on in Lansley's Department of Health? He needs to get a grip on this and fast!
How much Vaccine is available to the Government to order?
Has the government ordered enough vaccine for children?
Why are they now advising GP surgeries to contact PCTs and neighbouring surgeries to beg for more supplies of vaccine?
Has Lansley ordered in enough supplies of "Tamiflu"?
Has Lansley ordered enough supplies of paediatric Tamiflu?
- Half the country’s intensive care beds have been given over to the 738 flu patients fighting for their lives.
- Many critical units are full and some dangerously-ill patients are being transferred to hospitals more than 40 miles away.
- NHS Trusts have cancelled vital cancer operations and heart surgery to ensure life-support machines are kept free.
- The shortage of jabs raises the possibility that many more people will need hospital treatment in the coming weeks.
‘The Government have just launched their flu awareness campaign and now there is a vaccine shortage,’ he added.
‘Clearly there has been a complete lack of planning as is always the case whenever the country faces any sort of crisis.’
Mothers trying to get the jab for their very young children before they return to school next week are also being told there are no vaccines.
The Government has decided not to give the jabs to the under-5s on the NHS – even though they are hardest hit by this year’s outbreak. Some parents have responded by paying privately."
It is no good the Department of Health now trying to pin the blame for this debacle on GPs - the GPC was warning the government about this weeks ago and the Department of Health declined several pleas to run an information campaign encouraging people to take up the this year's seasonal flu-vaccine, the please fell on deaf ears, with the DH arrogantly responding that they "had no intention of relenting to pressure", when concerned GPs and other health groups tried to make them aware of the looming crisis.Again I ask this serious question, if the Conservative Government and Andrew Lansley cannot even organise this, when half of the work was done for them BEFORE they came to office, by the previous Labour Government, (which the Tories arrogantly destroyed and tossed aside) then how on earth can the Tories and Lansley be trusted to carry through the most radical reforms of the NHS since its very conception?
I have pointed out on numerous occasions, about the sheer amount of work and organisation it takes to reform just one very small branch of the NHS, it is not only the organisation that must be carefully planned and accounted for, it is the "knock on effect" that changing one thing has in its implications on other departments, patients and staff. It is obvious that Lansley and this Conservative Government simply do not have the intellect to carry through this kind of reorganisation and unless they are stopped from interfering in the NHS and trying to fix something that is NO LONGER broken, then not only does this spell chaos, confusion and mayhem for the health of our nation, it spells abject danger and a serious threat to loss of life, across all departments in the NHS.
Here is a classic example of how GP led consortia will repeatedly fall very short of providing the first class service they are to replace. The first sign of trouble and the government are trying to blame GPs and GPs are trying to blame the Government and the nation is stuck in the middle of this Government created medical chaos.
The majority of GPs do NOT want this consortia, it is about time the Government woke up and listened to them.
This government's radical changes in the NHS have nothing at all to do with improving patient care, these radical reforms are purely politically motivated and ideological, this governments wants to cut NHS spending first by £20 billion and then by a further £10bn per year until they have succeeded in privatising it completely. it is time the Government of abject liars told us the truth about their plans.
By the way where is the Interim Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies? I have only seen her once during this flu outbreak! And what she had to say appeared to have been penned by the Department of Health.
Concerning antivirals for children, I would like to ask Andrew Lansley if there is any truth in what I have been told, that paediatric Tamiflu is now in short supply? And that if Tamiflu does become depleted, that marketing authorisation for Tamiflu now includes the emptying of adult dosage capsules into a suitable dilutent, with appropriate volume to be administered to the child depending on age and weight?
How long will this go on for before a child is given the incorrect dosage? Who is going to make these "make-shift" child suspensions up? The pharmacist? The GP? Hospital Pharmacies? Parents? Who?
And how much further strain is this going to load onto the system that is already cracking under the weight of total incompetence, and the Government's negligence in getting to grips with this BEFORE it got to this stage?