Angry Scots forced to travel 70 miles for flu jab after GPs stopped giving them

Angry Scots are being forced to travel 70 miles for their flu jab after GPs stopped giving them.

The ‘shambolic’ plans to relieve pressure on local medical centres has left vulnerable patients hit with hours of travel time to get their potentially live saving medicine.

It comes as the winter flu vaccination programme has been taken over by health and social care services for the first time this year as part of a deal with the British Medical Association.

Now people in East Lothian have been stunned to receive letters telling them to go the the Royal Highland Showground in Edinburgh for the jab, reports Edinburgh Live.

An elderly woman who received an appointment at Ingliston faced having to take four buses to get there.

A spokesperson for East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership said that an issue with the NHS National Service booking system had meant some people receiving appointments that were “not as local as we expected”.

However they said the issue had now been resolved and anyone asked to travel to Edinburgh should now be able to rearrange their appointment to a closer venue.

Flu vaccinations are being carried out at East Lothian Community Hospital, Haddington, and Musselburgh Primary Care Centre.

The decision to take flu jabs away from GP practices was agreed as part of a new contract deal between the NHS and the BMA on behalf of doctors to relieve pressure on local medical centres.

However Prestonpans community councillor Calum Miller whose community has raised concerns over centralising of other GP services in recent times, described the decision as “shambolic”.

He said: “I think the real pressure is on A&E rather than the GP surgeries. It can be a 6 hour wait on a weekday night at the Royal Infirmary.

“There’s nobody queuing outside the medical surgeries, most of the time there is nobody even waiting in them.

“By removing GPs from the vaccination loop they are making patients dance around the medical profession. It should be the other way round, they exist to serve us.

“It’s not the booking system that’s shambolic, it’s the army or bureaucrats in Lothian NHS who won’t challenge the GPs to step up and do their job.

“Throughout the pandemic the pharmacies have been much more creative and responsive to patient needs. They should drive the flu vaccination through them to provide local access.”

One 76-year-old Cockenzie resident who received an appointment at the showground said she initially called her GP centre thinking it was a joke.

She said: “I couldn’t believe it, I’ve always just gone to the local GP for the jab and now they’re saying I need to take four buses and spend hours travelling.

“It’s an utter joke.”

A spokesperson for East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership said: “We are aware of an issue with the scheduling of some appointments via the national booking system.

“This has resulted in some people’s appointments not being as local as we expected.”

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