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Men ACWY for University freshers – missed cohort

Updated on Tuesday, 1 December 2015, 1394 views

A University Practice has highlighted an issue about a missed cohort of Men ACWY patients – namely patients born after 1 Sept 1997 who have just started University. Those in the current year 13 (DOB 01/09/1996-31/08/1997) would be in the school catch-up cohort and for a patient to be in the University freshers cohort they must be 19 years on 31 August 2015 in order to be eligible.

GPC raised this issue with NHS England who have confirmed that, as per the tri-partite letter, patients born between 01/09/1997-31/08/1998 will be eligible for vaccination from April 2016. As this means that this group of patients would not be protected against meningitis until then, we asked whether this group (although likely to be small) could be included in one of the cohorts (and funded nationally). However, the request to amend the service specification was refused, and instead the following FAQ has been added to the NHS Employers vaccs and imms FAQs:

Q: What about teenagers and young adults who are going to university early but do not meet the age criteria for the two MenACWY programmes?

A: As these patients fall outside of the eligible cohorts defined by the NHS England service specifications, they would not be covered by the automated data collections. As such, practices should discuss the vaccination of these patients with their commissioner on a case-by-case basis. In line with established procedures, where the practice and commissioner agree to the amendment the commissioner will adjust the practice achievement.

Q: What about teenagers and young adults who left school in the last term of the 2015/16 school year and may be going to university in autumn 2015 but do not meet the age criteria for the two MenACWY programmes?

A: Children who finished school year 13 in August 2015, but are either younger or older than the normal age and are therefore outside the cohorts defined in the specification are expected to be at similar risk to their peers. As these patients fall outside of the eligible cohorts defined by the NHS England service specifications, they would not covered by the automated data collections. Where these children self-present for vaccination, practices should discuss the vaccination of these patients with their commissioner on a case-by-case basis. In line with established procedures, where the practice and commissioner agree to the amendment the commissioner will adjust the practice achievement.

In the spirit of the agreement, we would expect these practices to be remunerated for vaccinating these patients.

Although we are pleased that this allows for these patients to be protected and should allow for payment to be made, we appreciate that the workload involved in claiming may negate any overall income received for the practices, and we would have preferred an amendment to the scheme.

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