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

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.

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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.

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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