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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 10:08 GMT
Child dropped as patient over MMR
Injection
MMR take-up is not meeting targets
Health officials are to investigate claims a GP removed a child from his patients list because the parents refused the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) jab.

The child's mother says she was told the move was made in order to help the GP reach government-set targets for MMR vaccinations.

Not meeting the targets can cost GPs up to 2,000 in income.

A spokeswoman for the Enfield and Haringey Health Authority in London said the concerns raised would be looked at "as a matter of urgency".

They were effectively culling their lists of children who had not had the MMR jab

Child's mother

The mother, who did not wish to be named, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We received a letter when my son was about two and a half, saying the GP had requested his name be removed from his patient list and that we should seek another GP.

"There were no reasons given in the letter, but in conjunction with receiving the letter I also had a message from the manager of the health centre.

"The rationale given to me was that my son hadn't had the MMR jab and therefore was bringing down the figures which were required to show the health centre was meeting targets for MMR vaccination.

"If the health centre didn't meet the targets, they didn't receive financial bonuses."

She added: "They were in danger of not meeting their targets so they were effectively culling their lists of children who had not had the MMR jab so they could achieve those targets.

Concerns investigated

"When I hear the statistics on MMR uptake I have to wonder how many children in my son's situation are actually being included in those statistics.

"I spoke to both the receptionist and the health centre manager and from both of them I had the impression this was a standard situation that was occurring with a number of their patients."

A spokeswoman for Enfield and Haringey Health Authority told the programme: "Such practice would not be in keeping with intended targets and incentives."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Caroline Thomsett
"The Department of Health is now under increasing pressure"
Conservative health spokesman Dr Liam Fox MP
"Public confidence has fallen to a level where children are being put at risk"

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See also:

06 Feb 02 | UK Politics
05 Feb 02 | Health
05 Feb 02 | Health
04 Jan 01 | Health
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