All girls aged 12 to 13 are offered HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccination as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme. The vaccine protects against cervical cancer. It's usually given to girls in year eight at schools in England.
According to Cancer Research UK, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women under the age of 35. In the UK, 2,900 women a year are diagnosed with cervical cancer, that's around eight women every day.
Around 970 women died from cervical cancer in 2011 in the UK. It's estimated that about 400 lives could be saved every year in the UK as a result of vaccinating girls before they are infected with HPV.
The HPV vaccine is delivered largely through secondary schools and consists of three injections over a period of 12 months. In September 2014 this will be reduced to 2 vaccines spaced at least 6 months apart.
HPV Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions
My patient falls outside the national campaign age range but wants to receive the vaccination. Can I prescribe on the NHS?
It is recognised that it may be good medical practice to prescribe for patients who fall outside the national campaign. In this case the GP should clinically assess such patients considering the risks and benefits and make a decision whether the vaccination is clinically indicated. If clinically indicated, then the vaccine must be provided on an FP10.
Can I prescribe Gardasil or Cervarix privately for patients who request it?
Following clinical assessment, if it is clinically indicated then you can proceed to prescribe on the NHS via an FP10. To prescribe privately and charge patients contravenes GMS and PMS regulations as you either clinically determine that the patient needs it or doesn't. For those patients who are clinically assessed as not needing the vaccine but who insist on receiving it, you should suggest that they seek treatment at either a Private Hospital or Private clinic.
Can I set up a reciprocal arrangement with a nearby practice for patients requesting the HPV vaccination but who fall outside of the national programme so that we can charge privately ?
No. If HPV vaccination is indicated for health reasons then directing patients to another GP as part of a reciprocal arrangement for private treatment is not permissible. .
Can I claim a personal administration fee for those patients vaccinated under the national HPV campaign?
No the full fee for administration is as set out in the local enhanced service.