Struck off, but why?BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7212.791 (Published 18 September 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:791
- Gavin Yamey
The message to parents was clear: be afraid. Your family doctor may strike you and your children off the list without rhyme or reason.
The Daily Mail led the clarion call to arms on Wednesday, 8 September. Next to a picture of a cute blond child and his smiling mother, its large print opening paragraph accused doctors of “striking off children whose parents refuse to let them have the controversial MMR jab.” On 13 September, the Independent told us that doctors were “striking from their lists huge numbers of patients, including children.”
What could possibly drive GPs to such cruelty against the small and defenceless? Lucre of course. The Express headline on 13 September trumpeted its outrage at our “Greedy GPs' vaccine ploy” and called them “devious doctors.” The Daily Mail announced none other than a full blown “MMR jabs cash scandal.” You could almost picture the masked villains, stethoscopes around their necks, running from their surgeries with bags labelled “swag.”
Like proud detectives unravelling a complex sting operation, all three papers educated their readers about the sordid details of this “trim and win” swindle. GPs were being given “large …