Drug Pushers UK Docs Got Big Bonuses for Pressuing Patients Into Swine Flu Shots

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Doctors are
in line for huge bonuses if large numbers of their patients sign
up for swine flu jabs.

Managers at
a major health trust are offering extra payments on top of the £5.25
that GPs already get per injection.

If they vaccinate
more than 90 per cent of those deemed at risk of the disease in
their area, they will get 50 per cent more per jab – £7.88
per person.

An uptake of
just 40 per cent will earn doctors an extra 10 per cent.

The extra payments
are being offered by Heart of Birmingham primary care trust, according
to Pulse magazine.

It is not known
whether the bonuses, which would be worth thousands of pounds per
practice, are available elsewhere in the country.

Last night,
critics expressed outrage that GPs were getting yet more money for
effectively pushing drugs on to their patients.

They said medics
should not be given extra rewards simply for doing their jobs.

Doctors insist
the money will go towards overtime and the extra staff needed to
give the jabs.

Yet GPs have
seen their pay soar since the introduction of new contracts. The
average salary is now more than £106,000 – 47 per cent higher
than the £72,000 they earned in 2002/03, according to the
Department of Health.

Pulse reports
that officials in Birmingham are worried about a second wave of
swine flu over the winter.

Vaccinations
are initially being offered to pregnant women and patients with
underlying health problems such as asthma and diabetes.

Norman Lamb,
Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said: ‘It is hard to justify
yet more payments to GPs. There is already an agreed payment which
means that substantial amounts of money will flow to GPs.

‘This agreement
works on the assumption that GPs aren’t motivated by what is best
for their patients.

‘The danger
is that swine flu will become a massive money-spinner for drugs
companies.’

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November
13, 2009

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