Government Wrong To Axe Flu Campaign

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12 Jan 2011

Over the last few weeks a flu outbreak has put great pressure on the NHS across the country, locally Rotherham Hospital has had to open extra beds and cancel all non-urgent surgery.

This winter the Government seem to have made less preparation for a flu outbreak that was expected to be more serious than ones we have seen before. The annual autumn advertising campaign to help the public understand who is at risk and what treatment is available has worked very well over the last few years so it made no sense for the Government to axe it this year.

On Monday in the House of Commons I asked the Health Secretary why it had taken until 16 December for the Government to write to the midwives association urging them to help get pregnant women to take up the flu jab. His reply that it was the responsibility of GPs to contact everyone in at-risk groups is undermined somewhat by the fact that all pregnant women will see a midwife whereas only some go to see their GP.  

We should not have seen GPs and pharmacies running out of the vaccine in some areas and we should not have seen parents confused about the treatment available for their young children.  I hope that we are now over the worst but if not the Government should be better prepared for dealing with similar situations in the future.