Since September 2015, adult at-risk patients are able to access seasonal flu vaccinations in participating community pharmacies.
Pharmacy staff are expected to identify eligible patients and encourage them to be vaccinated.
There is a payment of £7.64 per vaccination administered, with an additional £1.50 payment in recognition of costs incurred such as training, revalidation and disposal of clinical waste.
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In response to this announcement, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP Committee Chair, said:
"In many parts of the country there are already local arrangements for pharmacists to provide immunisations to the over 18 age group. There is little real evidence that it increases uptake amongst this category of patients so it is questionable whether this new enhanced service will have increased clinical benefits to the public.
Since this is now being introduced, the government does need to put in place proper protocols that allow accurate records to be shared between pharmacists and GPs as at the moment the NHS bureaucracy is not flexible enough to allow this to happen speedily.
Failures in data collection can make it more difficult for flu immunisation targets to be met and for GP practices to identify which patients need to be immunised. We also must ensure that practices which have already placed flu vaccine orders are not penalised financially by the introduction of this service.
The fee for this service for GPs should now be reviewed as pharmacists do not have responsibilities for record keeping or call/recall procedures that GPs have.”
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