In 2004, 6.3 per cent. of general medical services (GMS) partnerships had opted out of providing childhood immunisation services. In 2005, the proportion of GMS partnerships opting out was reported to be 36.7 per cent.
Comparison between 2004 and 2005 childhood immunisation services opt-out data should be undertaken with caution. Data as at 30 September 2004 was the first year in which opt-out data was collected on a partnership basis following the change in the general practitioner (GP) contract in April 2004. The figures published as at 30 September 2005 (a revision of earlier collected data) shows a great increase in the number of partnerships opting-out of childhood immunisation services, with no corresponding explanation of the increase.
The 2004 and 2005 data is published in full by The Information Centre for health and social care and can be found at www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/10/73/41/04107341.xls. A copy has been placed in the Library.
However, as part of its statutory duties, each primary care trust, under section 16CC of the National Health Services Act 1977(a), must provide a childhood immunisation scheme. If a GP opts out, then one per cent. is removed from the GPs global sum payment. This allows the primary care trust to re-provide the service with another contractor or to self-provide.