‘Flu, goats and fleecing

At 6 am this morning the BBC were reporting that RCGP Chairwoman Clare Gerada had said pharmacists should not be allowed to sell the ‘flu jab. This is the story in the  Telegraph. By 7am this had changed to saying that she hadn’t said that, but she had said that vulnerable people should have their jabs before the ‘worried well’ and the BBC website story was duly changed. Isn’t the real story that many GPs have under-ordered their supplies of ‘flu for their patients as they oversee their own orders and some of them have been giving them to the worried well instead of keeping them for their ‘at risk’ patients? Pharmacists will have ordered their flu jabs quite separately and it feels like they are being made the scape goat.

Which reminds me, the story that got my goat at the weekend was the unbelievable price some parents were charged for their daughters glasses. They had been referred to an ophthalmologist at Great Ormond Street who found that their daughter had a problem with focusing. This is not unusual and a good optician such as those here would have been able to work that one out – I was prescribing bifocals to children for this sort of problem 20 years ago. The scandal is being charged £400 for the glasses when most opticians would have supplied them for free – not charge any cost to the patient, simply submit the NHS (or Hospital Eye Service) voucher to cover the cost! Patients can always top up for a fancier frame – but £400 – for a 9 year old’s glasses! They were fleeced!

Meanwhile Sir Michael Rawlins was interviewed about his new report but the BBC interview failed to capture the importance to UK economic growth of making the running of clinical trials easier. See my post here for why this report is crucial.



About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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