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To think my doctor has overstepped the mark by sending me this letter?

(287 Posts)
evilplaguerat Sat 27-Jun-09 11:15:01

I am a regular but I'm afraid I have namechanged because there WILL be hostility on this thread

Basically my ds2 hasn't had all his preschool immunisations, because when we received his initial appointment we deferred it because we really weren't sure we wanted him to have the MMR booster (I KNOW what many people think of this attitude, I really do)

I've just had a letter from our GP which starts

"Dear Mum and Dad

It is with some alarm that I've heard from our practice nurse that XXX has not attended multiple appointments for his preschool immunisations"

whatever you think about children not being immunised - does my GP have the right to order me to immunise him? Or am I right in feeling that it's legally our decision and the letter is inappropriate?

To be clear - I'm not asking for views on parents deciding not to immunise (although I realise I am going to get them anyway), I'm asking about the legal position of the parents and the GP and whether he can in fact strong-arm us into having them if we don't want to.

Nancy66 Sat 27-Jun-09 11:17:02

what did the rest of the letter say?

EccentricaGallumbits Sat 27-Jun-09 11:17:03


your choice.

GPs jsut trying to catch up to reach targets so they get extra funding.

evilplaguerat Sat 27-Jun-09 11:18:12

sorry, the rest of the letter was a patter about herd immunity and the purpose of the vaccinations

followed by a request for me to ring him

junglist1 Sat 27-Jun-09 11:18:16

Not sure about legal positions but the wording of the letter is a bit hmm I would have thought the decision is yours surely

junglist1 Sat 27-Jun-09 11:18:52

Like the name change by the way grin

LadyOfWaffle Sat 27-Jun-09 11:18:55

YANBU about the "alarm" bit - makes it sound like a telling off or something.

evilplaguerat Sat 27-Jun-09 11:19:21

I have to say "Dear Mum and Dad" was NOT a good start hmm

BelleWatling Sat 27-Jun-09 11:19:24

YABU - the health of his patients is his job. What part of that letter is 'strong-arming' you?

ReneRusso Sat 27-Jun-09 11:19:32

Of course legally you cannot be forced into it. It's your choice entirely. The GP gets paid loads more for reaching targets on immunisation, so that's why they are chasing you. Is the letter inappropriate though? Does it actually threaten you with legal action? I guess you could just ignore it if you want to.

BlameItOnTheBogey Sat 27-Jun-09 11:20:28

But he's not saying the decision isn't yours? It's not like the letter says; if you don't bring your child in you will be struck off my books forever. He just says he is alarmed and explains why it is important.

Very sensible letter I think.

Nancy66 Sat 27-Jun-09 11:21:32

does the letter go on to outline the importance of vaccination?

he's doing his job. But if you don't want to protect your children that's up to you.

evilplaguerat Sat 27-Jun-09 11:22:37

Hmm, I see what you mean

but I feel that his "alarm" is his problem, not mine, and that it's not professional for him to send such a letter when the decision is entirely ours, IYSWIM.

I think it abuses a perceived authority of doctor over patient and could even be termed mild emotional blackmail

I'm not explaining it very well but I am really narked.

Thunderduck Sat 27-Jun-09 11:24:33

YABVU.He is not forcing you into anything. He is explaining what he believes, and what the NHS believes about the importance of vaccinations.
The majority of doctors will be pro vaccination, and it's his job, and his duty to the NHS to send out these standard letters,and as others have mentioned he has targets to reach.

BelleWatling Sat 27-Jun-09 11:25:19

Change your GP then. I wouldn't start crying 'abuse' over one mildly emotional word.

hercules1 Sat 27-Jun-09 11:26:02

You arent actually being ordered though are you.

Firawla Sat 27-Jun-09 11:26:41

The letter seems okay to me? He asked you to call, he didn't say you will be forced to have it. As you said you delayed it due to feeling unsure about it, maybe it would be good for you to call up and discuss with the doctor? It's nice that the doctor's surgery actually cares and made the effort to contact about it, in a way

rubyslippers Sat 27-Jun-09 11:27:57

maybe alarm was the wrong word

maybe he is worried that you haven't received reminders etc?

i would call him and see what he has to say

so far i cannot see anything in this letter which is over stepping the mark

evilplaguerat Sat 27-Jun-09 11:28:13

I think "crying abuse" is a bit strong. I'm not standing outside the surgery with a megaphone, I'm posting on a forum I use all the time, asking for others' views. Hardly hysteria hmm

I think the word "abuse" is a bit less potent when used as a verb in an "abusing one's position" sense. "Crying abuse" implies something rather different, I think.

I'm grateful for the responses, it's good to see what others think.

BelleWatling Sat 27-Jun-09 11:32:31

OK - 'abuse' / alarm could both be misconstrued as a bit emotional on both sides smile

I think you just need to call him to say you are not immunising and not to send any reminder letters.

evilplaguerat Sat 27-Jun-09 11:35:23

No, I am going to take him to have them all apart from the MMR booster

It's not that I think the doc is going to wrest him out of my arms and inject him - not at all

just that I think the letter implies that I am doing something wrong by not bringing him - and while I realise lots of people feel that I would be doing something wrong by not bringing him, legally it's my decision and the GP's personal preferences/ and emotions are not something I should have to deal with

I don't HAVE to explain to him why I don't want to immunise, and the letter implies that I do

EldonAve Sat 27-Jun-09 11:37:03

Have you actually missed appts or do they just give you suggested appts and you cancel them?

itwasntme Sat 27-Jun-09 11:37:31

I think the letter is fine.

He has a job to do, and he is conveying his professional standpoint as a doctor.

It is your choice whether you take heed or not.

evilplaguerat Sat 27-Jun-09 11:39:18

being "alarmed" at something you have no legal authority in isn't professional, it's personal, and it's not appropriate IMO

But I CAN see what people are saying, and I'm certainly not planning to cause a scene over it. I will tell him that I think the letter was inappropriate though and in future I would prefer that he assume that I am making informed decisions unless I ASK for his input

Thunderduck Sat 27-Jun-09 11:39:59

It's more than the doctor's preference. It's NHS Policy too. And yes most doctors would believe that you were doing something wrong by avoiding the MMR.

I would think it standard to explain to your healthcare provider that you are not giving the MMR and why.

Now if the letter came from your bank manager it'd be out of line, but it's perfectly appropriate from one's doctor.

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