GPs in Birmingham have been offered bonuses worth thousands of pounds for vaccinating a high proportion of the population against swine flu, according to reports.
Practices will receive £5.25 for every vaccination of a patient in the target group and have the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) relaxed should they manage to reach the Department of Health's goal of 50.7% of at-risk patients under 65-years-old, NHS Heart of Birmingham revealed to Pulse.
Fears had been raised that GPs would be treated differently by NHS managers during the outbreak depending on where they work, after the Department of Health gave PCTs the power to fine practices who are forced to suspend work.
PCTs have been given the power to put financial penalties in place for the "cessation or reduction of clinical services" by the Department of Health. PCTs are being encouraged to run checks on staff absences or workload pressures to ensure that there is a valid reason for any suspension of services.
The swine flu vaccination programme for at-risk categories is under way. The government plans to extend the vaccination programme to five to 16-year-old children.