A doctor who broke government guidelines by allowing parents to give their children single measles vaccinations instead of the combined MMR injection was cleared of any wrongdoing yesterday.
A General Medical Council (GMC) investigation refused to take any action against Peter Mansfield, a Lincolnshire GP. It said he had not acted against patients' wishes.
Dr Mansfield, who runs a private practice in Louth, allowed parents to choose the single measles jab rather than the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. The triple vaccine, known as MMR, is advocated by the Department of Health but has provoked concern that it could be linked to autism and bowel disease.
After hearing that he had been cleared, Dr Mansfield said the case should never have been started and he would continue to give the single jab to a "tidal wave" of parents who wanted it. "It was preposterous," he said. "There has to be a change in the attitude of public health doctors to choice on the part of parents. Other doctors may have been holding back on the grounds that they were worried about being taken to the GMC. Now they will start to come out of the woodwork."
The GMC started the case after complaints about jabs he had given to hundreds of children in Louth and in Worcester. But yesterday the council wrote to him to say the case would be dropped and there had been no question of serious professional misconduct. "There was no information to suggest that you carried out your treatments without the informed consent of either the parent or guardian.
"You provide a choice for parents ... for whom the preferred alternative to three separate inoculations would be not to have their children inoculated at all," it said.
The pressure group Jabs, which is campaigning for children to be allowed to have single vaccines, said it was inundated with calls within hours of the GMC judgment.
Anne Coote, a Jabs spokes-woman, called on the Government to tell GPs that they could give the single vaccine to any parent who asked for it. "It is a win for parents who want the choice of what vaccine to give their child, and the Government should take note," she said.
The Department of Health said yesterday's judgment would not change its policy on MMR. "We do not condone the use of separate vaccines.
"Based on the existing scientific evidence, our view is that the triple MMR vaccine is the safest way to protect children against these three potentially serious diseases."Reuse content