Two more health boards have apologised for problems with the roll-out of this year’s flu vaccine, including letters being sent out to people who aren’t eligible for a jab or after their appointment was meant to happen.
A total of two million Scots will be offered a flu vaccine this year, the highest number ever after the Scottish government expanded the list of people eligible for a free flu vaccine.
Experts have voiced concerns about the potentially deadly impact of having coronavirus and flu at the same time.
For the first time, NHS boards are taking on responsibility for vaccines from GPs, as part of changes under the 2018 General Medical Services contract.
However, family doctors will continue to be involved due to the pressures of the pandemic.
The new model has brought challenges, with NHS Lanarkshire today acknowledging “issues” with the national booking system after some patients received their letter after the appointment was meant to happen.
The board said it was increasing the number of call handlers to cope with increased demand as it receives a high number of enquiries from concerned residents yet to be contacted
Dr Mark Russell, Associate Medical Director at Health and Social Care North Lanarkshire, said: “We understand people are anxious about when they will receive their flu vaccination and would like to apologise for any frustration or concern the phased delivery of appointment letters has caused.”
Similar challenges are being faced in the Western Isles, where the local health board admitted some locals who were not eligible had been sent letters and patients had been directed to clinics outside their local area.
Health bosses apologised for any confusion caused and urged people who are normally eligible to phone up to book an appointment.
In Fife, where the NHS said sorry for anxiety caused by the delay in allocating appointments at the start of the month, health and social care partnership lead Nicky Connor said today they had made “significant progress” in boosting call handler capacity.
Elsewhere, it was reported that the system used to send out letters in Greater Glasgow & Clyde had placed older people at the back of the queue, while in neighbouring Ayrshire & Arran NHS staff jabs were paused after “unprecedented demand”.
by Henry Anderson