College response to detection of poliovirus in the UK

The College has responded to recent reports that the poliovirus has been detected in the UK.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "It is concerning to hear reports that the poliovirus has been identified in the UK, after its eradication in 2003, but it’s important to note that there are currently no confirmed cases of polio in the UK.

“The NHS childhood vaccination programme, which includes the polio vaccination, is critical to protect children – and wider society - against serious and potentially fatal diseases. It’s important that children are up-to-date with their all their inoculations, and if, for whatever reasons, they are not, we’d encourage parents to contact their GP practice to arrange for them to be vaccinated.

“Vaccinations are some of the most essential health interventions people can have, and it’s important that all immunisation programmes, including the childhood vaccination programme are completed in full.

“Most parents will likely have a record of their children's immunisation record, which is known as the ‘red book’. However, if unsure, records of childhood vaccinations can be accessed through contacting their GP practice, or via the Child Health Information Services, which can be accessed by health professionals such as school nurses or health visitors.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.