Scrutinising immunisation services – two new guides published

Posted on 09/06/2016 by Tim Gilling.

Immunisation is a critical component in the public health armoury.

CfGS 10 questions – scrutinising immunisation services

It prevents death and disease and has a significant impact on health services, reducing infections and making hospital stays less likely – especially during critical period of ‘winter pressure’. These two new connected reports, which we are publishing today, will help local areas in scrutinising immunisation services. 10 questions to ask if you are scrutinising…local immunisation services and Point of impact: the value of scrutiny in effective local immunisation strategies provide a valuable framework to ask relevant questions about immunisation and case study examples of areas that have used scrutiny to better review how local services are operating.

Immunisation programmes have been one of the most effective public health strategies developed by health bodies across the world. However, the effectiveness of vaccination often relies on its near universality. High profile media stories suggesting there are potentially dangerous consequences to immunisation have impacted uptake of certain vaccines, for other diseases there is simply insufficient information or public communication available to increase uptake.

These new guides provide those involved with health overview and scrutiny (HOSC) to better understand this potentially complex area of public policy. The publications set out which vaccines are meant to be offered at what age (a service enshrined in the NHS constitution), explains how the increasingly complex relationship between providers, commissioners, Directors of Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and HOSCs can be navigated effectively and gives clear examples of how to access and decipher the data necessary to understand immunisation uptake in local areas.

The accompanying publication to the main 10 questions guide features case studies from the London Borough of Merton and Derbyshire County Council. Both undertook specific reviews of different aspects of their vaccination services (boosters for 2-5 years old children, front-line staff uptake and human papilloma virus immunisation amongst 12-13 years old girls).

These case studies provide helpful tools and techniques that other areas can adopt in scrutinising immunisation services in their locality. Both councils demonstrated a good return on the investment of resources with many positive outcomes, including: better evidence base for immunisation locally; understanding the practical and financial impact of immunisation; holding decision makers to account for their immunisation strategies and identifying innovative approaches to improve local uptake of immunisation.

The reports are the product of a collaboration between the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny and Sanofi Pasteur MSD. The guides were commissioned and funded by Sanofi Pasteur MSD who have contributed to and reviewed their content.

About the Author: Tim Gilling

Tim is a Director at the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny, leads on health and social care and oversees our work in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.