Vaccine Check... for DOCTORS! Those Refusing Vaccinations Risk Losing Right (?) to Practice!

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 03/03/2010 - 6:43pm.

Doctors on the NHS front line who refuse vaccinations against common infections risk losing their right to practice under a new appraisal system... (How about we demand these control freaks prove to the people that they have been vaccinated... so they don't infect us? 'They' ALL should be randomly drug tested as well! Subject 'them' to the same crap 'they' try to force on us! ~ S.I.A.)

Annual assessments being introduced next year to maintain standards of medical competency will include whether doctors are immunised against common serious communicable diseases. This would include infections such as tuberculosis, hepatitis B and rubella but also could include seasonal flu.

Although current medical best practice guidance recommends jabs for flu where available, many frontline health workers, including GPs and consultants, ignore the advice. In the 2008-09 winter flu season, fewer than one in seven frontline NHS staff had a flu jab.

Under the new scheme for medical regulation — the biggest overhaul of the sector in 150 years — doctors will undergo annual appraisals of their skills and knowledge. Licences to practise as a doctor will then be issued by the General Medical Council (GMC) every five years, based on the appraisals.

Improving the level of vaccinations among medical staff has proved a constant challenge for health authorities, with fewer than 20 per cent of frontline NHS workers bothering with flu vaccines. Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, has called repeatedly for improvement.

In the core standards released yesterday by the GMC, setting out assessments that have been compiled by each medical specialty, all doctors in contact with patients must "be immunised against common serious communicable diseases where vaccines are available". Evidence of vaccinations — or adequate reasons for not being immunised — would be required to comply with the appraisal.

The requirement is set out as part of the revalidation system, which was put out to a three-month consultation yesterday. The medical profession, patients and other groups are to be asked to give their views about how proposals are introduced to revalidate an estimated 218,000 doctors in the UK.

The system, a world first, is designed to identify doctors who repeatedly make poor clinical decisions, and will use evidence from patient questionnaires and feedback from colleagues.

The medical colleges, which represent different clinical specialties, are also required to develop tests to check that doctors are keeping abreast of advances. Doctors who fall short of required standards risk being removed from the medical register.

Doctors currently undergo no formal assessment of competence and performance between entering practice as a GP or consultant and retiring. An airline pilot would be assessed about 100 times over a similar period.

The GMC said that the scheme will not be introduced as a "big bang", but will be phased in over five years from 2011, with pilot schemes already under way.

Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the GMC, said: "This represents the biggest change in medical regulations for 150 years.

"What we are attempting to do is to move away from a register which is based on a history of qualifications towards a contemporary record, or a near-contemporary record of performance.

"This is ambitious, in the sense that there is not another nation in the world which has attempted to do this, so we are going to be trail-blazers."

The scheme has been drawn up after a series of medical scandals including the Harold Shipman affair.

Earlier this year Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, questioned how doctors, once qualified, could not have their performance formally checked "from the point of entering practice to the day they retire".

A poll of more than 1,000 consultants and GPs carried out for The Times last May found that one in six said that the idea of a revalidation system was causing them to consider a change in career.

Mr Dickson said many doctors were already undergoing annual appraisals, and would not be overly concerned about the introduction of revalidation. But he said the GMC would need to provide assurance to those doctors who were concerned that the scheme might be bureaucratic and time-consuming.

The GMC said that the guidance put out for consultation, and to be subject to the new regulatory system, would not amount to new rules over immunisation. It added that a refusal to have a jab against flu, which is responsible for thousands of death annually, particularly among the elderly, would not be sufficient to be struck off. The consultation, which closes in early June, is intended to inform how such appraisals will be enforced.

"We're confident that the vast majority of hospital doctors and general practitioners follow our guidance and seek immunisation against serious communicable disease in order to protect their patients," a spokesman said.

Sam Lister - March 2, 2010 - source TimesOnlineUK

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 03/03/2010 - 6:43pm.