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Children: Greater London

Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the risks to the health of children in London from the level of performance of the Child Health Interim Application system. (171818)

BT’s provision of an interim child health system pending delivery of a long-term solution reduced the risks arising from the 10 primary care trusts (PCTs) concerned being left with no system following the decision by the previous commercial child health system supplier to withdraw its product from the market.

In the period following implementation of the Child Health Interim Application (CHIA) system, figures generated for the Health Protection Agency’s Cover of Vaccination Evaluated Rapidly (COVER) reports indicated that the uptake of immunisations had dropped. However, there is no evidence of any causal relationship with the CHIA implementation.

To mitigate any risks arising from this drop, an immunisation uptake audit was undertaken across the 10 PCTs who were using CHIA in London. The initial findings from the audit show that a significant number of children who appeared in the system as unimmunised had actually received their immunisations. There were also a number of children who had not been immunised, but the audit revealed a number of reasons, unconnected with the computer system changes, why this was the case.

Each of the 10 PCTs is now undertaking an immunisation catch-up programme which aims to complete by March 2008.