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200 Yorkshire pharmacists get free flu training

Local education board has funded five day-long sessions to prepare for the national service

Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire (CPWY) has secured free training to prepare 200 pharmacists for the national flu vaccination service, C+D has learned.

A local Health Education England (HEE) board commissioned Leeds Beckett University to provide the five day-long training sessions, which give pharmacists the skills to vaccinate patients from September, CPWY chief executive Robbie Turner told C+D last week (August 7).

Nurses in the area receive free training to deliver flu vaccinations, and Mr Turner said HEE commissioned the training for local pharmacists because it is “only fair” that they receive similar support.

The first three sessions – catering for a total of 120 pharmacists – are fully booked, so CPWY has secured a further two, Mr Turner said. Forty pharmacists have already been trained in the first session, he said.

HEE told C+D that its local education and training boards (LETBs) will decide “on an individual basis” whether to offer similar training in other parts of the country.

“HEE encourages pharmacists to approach their LETB to explore what immunisation training opportunities are available in their local area,” it added.

"Working hard" to recruit pharmacists

Mr Turner said the training was initially designed to run ahead of a local flu service, commissioned before the national scheme was announced as part of the 2015-16 funding settlement last month. “We’ve worked really hard over the last four weeks to get people recruited, and to get a course that is specific for pharmacists,” he said.

Pharmacists in West Yorkshire will “definitely” have access to the training again next year because HEE has already incorporated the sessions into its “business planning”, Mr Turner said. CPWY is also working with neighbouring LPCs to expand the training “across the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber”, he added.

When it announced the national service last month, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) stressed that contractors will need to demonstrate that anyone delivering the vaccinations has the necessary skills.

"As well as training specifically on vaccine provision, pharmacists may wish to consider training on topics such as consultation skills, first aid or marketing," it added.

Last week, LPCs warned that the national flu service may be delayed by a month.


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