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Thursday, 25 July, 2002, 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK
Ratings show 'worrying levels' for MMR
A child getting the MMR
Too few children are getting vaccinated
Ten areas of London have been slated in the league tables for failing to vaccinate children against mumps, measles and rubella.

In their annual league tables the government looked for the first time at the new Primary Care Trusts.

Ambulance Trusts were also rated for the first time and achieved good marks with nearly 40% of all trusts reaching the top three star grade.

But mental health campaigners have condemned ratings for mental and community health trusts, claiming the government failed to consider the patient's experience.

An awful lot of London GPs have been worried about the possibility of a measles epidemic

A BMA spokeswoman

Government figures found worrying levels for MMR vaccination rates in 10 London boroughs.

'Herd immunity'

In Haringey the protection levels for MMR fell to just 68% and in Tower Hamlets it dipped to 70%.

GPs say vaccination levels must reach 95% if they are to create a so called "herd immunity" to protect children from outbreaks.

A spokeswoman for the BMA said: "An awful lot of London GPs have been worried about the possibility of a measles epidemic.

"Obviously there is a huge challenge to reassure parents of the safety of MMR.

"But the overwhelming consensus amongst medical professionals is that it is safe.

"Somehow we have to find a way to convince people to have their children vaccinated."

In contrast 100% of children in Kettering and 98.6% in Bromsgrove Primary Care Group were vaccinated.

Star ratings

The ratings studied a number of other key areas of service, including how many patients were able to see a GP within 48 hours; the number of teenage pregnancies and how many deaths there were from circulatory diseases.

From next year the Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) will be given star ratings, which will mean extra funds for the highest performers.

Trusts failing to meet eight minute target
Sussex Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Wiltshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Avon Ambulance Service Trust
Mersey Regional Ambulance Service NHS Trust

The Ambulance Service Association (ASA) said they were delighted by their trusts performance.

Richard Dimet, chief executive of the ASA, said: "The ratings announced today are a credit to ambulance staff and crews throughout England.

"However, no one is complacent and everyone in the ambulance service is committed to delivering even higher standards of care in the future."


But Health Which? criticised the ratings as "flawed and misleading" and claimed some of the services were "massaging the figures."

Four trusts failed to meet the eight minute target for category A calls and nine failed to meet the 14-19 minute targets on category A calls.

Another three were named the worst in England for failing to meet the 15 minute targets for GP urgent calls.

Trusts failing to meet 15 minute targets for urgent GP calls
Greater Manchester Ambulance Service
London Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Oxfordshire Ambulance Service Trust

The Royal Berkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust was awarded three stars for meeting more than 85% of its life threatening calls within eight minutes.

But Health Which? claimed the trust had only classified 10% of its calls as life-threatening, compared to nearer 40% in other trusts.

Long waits

And the mental health charity Rethink condemned the performance measurement of mental health trusts, which they said took no consideration of the patient's views and did not take into account long waits for treatment.

Just over two thirds of community trusts, which provide mental services, were given two star ratings and four trusts got three star ratings.

Bedfordshire and Luton Community NHS and South Warwickshire Combined Care NHS Trust were given a zero rating.

But Cliff Prior, chief executive of Rethink, said: "Rethink believes it is vital that mental health trusts are measured just as rigorously as other parts of the NHS.

"But people who use mental health services will be surprised to see such positive results it is simply not the experience they have.

Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of mental health charity Sane, agreed.

"Sane's survey of psychiatrists and the 1,000 calls a week to our helpline paint a far gloomier picture of mental health services and highlight the absurdity of performance measures for people with enduring mental illness who need time, space and activity rather than quick turnover. "

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