GP practices will receive an extra £5 for every child aged 10-11 they vaccinate with the MMR vaccine from April, under the new GP contract.
The five-year deal, agreed by NHS England and the BMA, includes the extra payment as part of an MMR catch-up campaign, which aims to reduce the current number of measles outbreaks.
This comes as a recent surge in measles cases led PHE to urge patients ensure if they have had two doses of the MMR vaccine, to check with their GP before going on holiday.
The contract, which was released last week, said practices will be expected to carry-out a number of tasks to encourage children to get the MMR vaccine, in return for the payment.
This includes actively inviting ‘all those missing one or both doses of MMR to have the MMR vaccine at a vaccination clinic held in the practice or to make an appointment’.
GPs should also ‘continue to follow-up, recall and update computerised records for patients who do not respond or fail to attend scheduled clinics or appointments’, the contract said.
Other immunisation changes in the new deal include:
- From April, GP practices will see a 26p increase to the childhood seasonal influenza, pertussis, seasonal influenza and pneumococcal polysaccharide fee. This means the current fee will rise from £9.80 to £10.06
- From April, the HPV vaccine programme will be extended to all women aged 18-25, with a fee set at £10.06
- From September, all boys aged 12-13 will be included in the HPV vaccine scheme. Although NHS England said the HPV catch-up will not have to be delivered through general practice in 2019/20, it expects all boys to be added to the scheme from April 2020
Last month, Public Health England called on the Government to add MMR catch-up elements to the GP contract in order to tackle low uptake levels.
This came after NHS Digital found the number of children getting the MMR vaccine last year dropped to the lowest level since 2011/2012.
This story was first published on our sister publication Pulse.