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GPN Manifesto 2024: Target immunisation uptake

GPN Manifesto 2024: Target immunisation uptake

We launch the ninth of 10 points of priorities for general practice nursing for this year, forming a manifesto for the profession

We hear from many general practice nurses (GPNs) who aren’t happy with the direction of travel at their practices or the progress of the profession, so we asked 10 nurses to share their top priorities to create a manifesto for general practice nursing.

Workforce shortages, soaring patient demand, and pay and conditions that fall far short of those on offer to nurses working in secondary care are just some of the ongoing issues faced by GPNs.

GPNs are making their own recommendations for tackling the difficulties in the sector. Here, within their contributions to the manifesto, nurses share the actions they believe could be taken by practices, PCNs, the wider NHS, the government – and GPNs themselves.

We know that this is only the start of the conversation about challenges in general practice – please join in and share your views if you can. 

Here is the ninth of the 10 manifesto points, each supported by a nurse working in or closely related to general practice:

#9 Target immunisation uptake

This manifesto point was championed by Hina Shah

‘GPNs need to play an important role in overturning the decline in childhood immunisations uptake.’ 

Uptake of child immunisations is declining, with vaccine hesitancy, particularly post pandemic, and inequality of access among the reasons for this trend.


GPNs can play a key role in reversing this decline. For Hina Shah, a GPN and lead nurse in immunisations for Spinney Hill Medical Centre in Leicester, getting to the heart of why vaccination appointments were being ignored or refused has helped boost uptake.


In just five months – between April and September 2021 – Ms Shah and her colleagues cut the practice’s child immunisation target list from 330 to zero.


To achieve this, locum nurse support has been extended to make vaccination appointment times more family friendly and to increase access to the service. Parents who decline vaccine appointments several times are contacted by the practice team and are offered face-to-face appointments, at which Ms Shah can address their concerns and reassure and educate them about the benefits of vaccinating their children.


She believes it’s vital that GPNs work to address the decline in childhood immunisations uptake. ‘Many diseases can be prevented by vaccinations. If we don’t overturn this decline, children are potentially at greater risk of diseases, and there will also be an impact on healthcare, including secondary care.’


GPNs ‘can make a real difference to improving uptake’, says Ms Shah. ‘But they need to be persistent and, if necessary, put in the extra effort and make that extra call,to find out why parents are refusing immunisation for their children.’



Hina Shah

Do you have any points for discussion on this topic? Please visit Nursing in Practice on Facebook or X to start the discussion. Please do also get in touch with us at Nursing in Practice if you have relevant projects or ideas for articles to share on this subject. We welcome your thoughts.  

The 10 points of the manifesto


Look out for discussion on the points at and on social media as these points are launched one by one



The government should ensure general practice nurses have the same pay, terms and conditions as their secondary care colleagues.



The NHS, practices, universities and other stakeholders need to change the narrative, to encourage more nurses to choose general practice.



Practices, PCNs, the NHS and government should do more to promote the health of our less well-off families.



Practices and PCNs need to free up time for GPNs to empower patients to manage their long-term conditions, including diabetes, asthma and COPD.



NHS England, PCNs, and GP practices should ensure GPNs have the time and resources to carry out their crucial role in public health promotion and disease prevention.



GPN employers, PCNs and nursing bodies need to support nurses with their health and care, so they can care for others.



All nurses should be given the time for professional development to progress their careers. NHS England, PCNs and practices should encourage and support the GPN and ANP roles to grow in general practice.



It is important for general practice nurses to consider parity of esteem – valuing the patients’ mental health needs equally to their physical health.



GPNs need to play an important role in overturning the decline in childhood immunisation uptake.



General practice needs to continue to evolve to serve patients better, adopting approved digital platforms and applications to improve patient care and outcomes.


Writer: Kathy Oxtoby

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