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National flu service scheduled to launch this week

NHS England has published the long-awaited details of the scheme, but PSNC says contractors need to wait for more information before they start vaccinating

Pharmacists should brace themselves to start delivering the national flu service by the end of the week, PSNC has said.

The negotiator published the details of the scheme yesterday (September 14), but stressed that contractors cannot begin vaccinating until other measures – including the publication of the Patient Group Direction (PGD) – are in place.

PSNC said it expects these extra steps – including a document for contractors to notify NHS England that they will deliver the scheme – to be completed “later this week”.

The long-awaited service specification published by NHS England includes training, premises, data collection and reporting requirements, plus details of how pharmacists can claim payment for the vaccinations.

NHS England has produced a questionnaire that pharmacists must ask vaccinated patients to complete, which will be used to evaluate the service. PSNC warned against printing a “significant number” of these forms because they may be changed by NHS England in the next few days.

Vaccinating care homes

NHS England revealed that pharmacies will need to get permission from their local area team to vaccinate in care homes, and Pharmacy London chief executive officer Rekha Shah told C+D this will be an “onerous” task for contractors.  “I can imagine pharmacists putting in a request that somebody [at NHS England] doesn’t look at,” she said.

Ms Shah urged pharmacists to complete a declaration of competence to deliver the scheme, released last month, as soon as possible.

“You can’t get it done within half an hour. You need to understand it, make sure you’ve undertaken the requirements. I’ve heard that a lot of people haven’t actually gone through and finished [it] off,” she told C+D.

Contractors should also use a PSNC checklist – published alongside the specification – to ensure they are ready to deliver the service, she added.

PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton said the publication of the service specification is a “huge relief” that will allow pharmacy teams to “finalise preparations” for the service.

PSNC is “constantly pressing” the NHS and the Department of Health for a “swift resolution” to the missing information, he added. 

 

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