HPV Vaccination rationing – sexist, non-universal, and not learning from other countries

In a letter to The Times June 13th 2016, Stephen Cannon and others point out the government’s confused thinking and half-cock semi-effectual policy on HPV. 

NHSreality argues that the government policy is sexist, non-universal, and has not learnt from other countries – ones less concerned with rationing covertly. In a “patient centred” health service there should be universal coverage. Could there be a false fear of “encouraging promiscuity”? Of course, it is up to individual families to choose to cover their males… privately… and increase the health divide.


Sir, Further to the parliamentary debate last week on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination policy in the UK, while we all appreciate how HPV vaccination significantly reduces the risk of cervical cancer in women, what is less well known is that HPV is implicated in the development of other cancers including anal, oral, penile, vaginal and vulval cancers, and also causes genital warts. The burden of HPV-related diseases is shared equally by men and women.

As clinicians, scientists and academics with a special interest in HPV and its associated diseases, we urge the government to act quickly and extend the national HPV vaccination programme to include adolescent boys. It not only makes sense on a public-health level, but there is now economic evidence to indicate that vaccinating both girls and boys will be cost effective. Such a step would bring the UK into line with Australia, Austria and other countries now recommending HPV vaccination for both sexes. Stephen Cannon, vice president, Royal College of Surgeons of England; Dr Elizabeth Carlin, president, British Association for Sexual Health and HIV; Professor Sean Kehoe, Lawson Tait professor of gynaecological cancer, University of Birmingham, and senior research fellow, St Peter’s College, University of Oxford; Professor Saman Warnakulasuriya, emeritus professor of oral medicine and experimental pathology, King’s College London, and director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Oral Cancer; Mr Ben Challacombe, consultant urological surgeon and honorary senior lecturer Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London; Professor Giampiero Favato, director of the Institute for Leadership and Management in Health, Kingston University London; Professor Nigel Hunt; dean, Faculty of Dental Surgery, Royal College of Surgeons of England; Professor Mark Lawler, dean of education, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences and Chair in Translational Cancer Genomics, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen’s University Belfast; Professor M A O Lewis; dean, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University and director of the Clinical Board for Dentistry, Cardiff & Vale University Health Board; Professor Eilís McCaughan, professor in cancer care, Institute of Nursing and Health Research, Ulster University; Dr John McSorley, consultant physician, Sexual Health & HIV Services, London North West Healthcare NHS Trust; Professor Tony Narula, president, ENT UK; Professor Crispian Scully, emeritus professor, University College London

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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