Apparently the swine flu vaccination for children under five is being put on hold because the British Medical Association and the government cannot agree a deal.
Excuse me, I thought, before reading the opening paragraph of the article once more, have I got this right? Doctors and politicians are arguing over contractual flexibility while that group of the population most likely to be hospitalised with swine flu is left to take its chances.
How can it be that the UK found itself at the head of the queue when the vaccine became available, managed to get the immunisation programme for other at-risk groups under-way quite easily, only to fail our young children?
If we're to believe what we read, politicians are stubbornly refusing to give doctors any latitude during this time of crisis; while doctors consider our little ones time-consuming and fear that the vaccination of three million children, under their present contract, would leave them out of pocket.
So instead of concentrating on breaking the impasse, the government will try to get around the problem by roping in other health workers to administer the jabs. Just a hole or two in that plan. First, the Health Secretary is talking about 'local' plans and 'local' agreements with health authorities, which could surely result in another postcode lottery. Secondly, many of the health workers would need extra training, as they will not have had any previous experience of vaccinating. How much will this cost?
The hope is to get things going before Christmas. Well, that's alright then. Some infants can look forward to receiving the gift of immunisation while others will have to be satisfied with what they get from the lucky dip.
© 2009, copyright Martin T. Hodges