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Getting shot of flu

Increasing public awareness and positive patient feedback mean pharmacy vaccination programmes are on the up, finds Hannah Flynn

Case studies | What patients think | 5 ways to skill up | CPD tips

Last year's flu vaccination programme suffered a hit when flu vaccine supplies ran out as an epidemic gripped the country. Faced with vaccine shortages and some supply problems caused by bad weather, some pharmacists didn't have as successful a season as they had hoped for (see My flu service: case study 2). However, the increased media coverage and the realisation by many members of the general public that flu is not ‘just a cold' could see pharmacies offering flu vaccination benefit this year, according to Novartis market development manager Graham Thoms. "We shouldn't be seeing headlines about healthy people dying of a vaccine-preventable disease," he says. Novartis has been running training for pharmacists to offer flu vaccination services since a pilot in NHS Grampian in 2003, and has been measuring how patients have reacted to being offered the vaccine through pharmacy. This year it has combined the results of 10,467 patient feedback questionnaires from the 2009-10 and 2010-11 flu seasons – and the results are positive. Over a third of respondents to the survey said that they would not have had the flu vaccination if it was not offered by the pharmacist, and 95 per cent report the vaccine was administered as well as past injections. Over nine out of 10 (94 per cent) say they will use the pharmacy for other vaccinations – for example, travel vaccinations – and nearly all (97 per cent) say they will return for their flu vaccination next year.   Patients in at-risk groups made up 13 per cent of those vaccinated in pharmacies, the survey suggested. These results are particularly important, Mr Thoms believes, as pharmacy services will increasingly be commissioned based on evidence, and he is positive about the future of the flu vaccination scheme in pharmacy. "We see these services developing more, and more pharmacies getting commissioned as an NHS service," he says. He sees the service expanding as over 15 million people are eligible for NHS-funded vaccination in the UK and the NHS has increased the target for the number of over-65s to be vaccinated, to 75 per cent. Scotland has said that it aims to have 75 per cent of all at-risk patients vaccinated, he adds. With growing demand due to NHS targets and an ageing population, now has never been a better time to start offering flu vaccinations.

My flu service: case study 1  

Jane Devenish, pharmacy manager* Co-operative Pharmacy, Timperley, Cheshire "I really like the training package I did. It consisted of online and a full day of training. We did some basic life support practice and lots of practice injecting into dummy muscles, making sure we knew what we are doing before we ran the service. "We offer it in our branch, and professionally it is quite rewarding. Patients are really very enthusiastic about it as they can get it in a convenient location. It was the convenience the customers were talking about, as they couldn't get it if they were working, and we had other customers come in as they were not eligible for NHS vaccination but felt they couldn't care for their dependents if they got flu. We also had some business interest. "In order to make it successful, you need to get people interested as early as possible. It is about engaging with customers and we feel we have to make sure people are vaccinated either through us or through the surgery. It is part of our day-to-day work to deal with them anyway." *Ms Devenish is currently on secondment at Co-operative Pharmacy head office, but undertook Novartis training in her permanent role as pharmacy manager

My flu service: case study 2

Julie Horslen, pharmacy owner Prestwood Pharmacy, Buckinghamshire "I have offered [flu vaccination] for the past two years. I did training with the NPA at its offices in St Albans and did a refresher [later on]. We start advertising in September and did vaccination in October. Last year was not very successful as the vaccine ran out. "This year I will be targeting youngsters over the age of 12 and pregnant women, as that is part of our remit, and I think I am going to try to advertise in local businesses and schools as well. I would recommend that other pharmacies do it because it is a service that helps the local community. Last year a lot of businesses were interested in the fact they could [get vaccinated] in their local pharmacy."

What patients think of pharmacy flu jabs

33% of pharmacy-vaccinated patients would not have had the jab if it was not offered by the pharmacist 83% visit the pharmacy purely to receive their flu vaccination 95% report that the vaccination is administered as well in pharmacy as past injections 94% would use pharmacy for other vaccinations such as travel 97% would return to a pharmacy for their flu vaccinations next year

5 ways to skill-up to offer flu vaccinations

1. Alliance Healthcare Alliance Healthcare's flu vaccination programme for 2011 is running from late August through September this year. The programme, in conjunction with Novartis, is aimed at pharmacists who wish to launch the service in their pharmacy for the first time, as well as enabling those who have completed it before to update their skills. The scheme combines online distance-learning modules with a four-hour training event at a choice of locations. Tel: 0203 044 8434 Email: [email protected] 2. AAH The AAH training, also in conjunction with Novartis, is a half-day session with Sunday options, supported by a long-term online resource and instructional video, and marketing help. 3. Novartis Pharmacists attending Novartis training will have a three-to four-hour practical session that includes injection technique, basic life support and anaphylaxis, clinical governance protocol and paperwork, and information on how to promote services locally. They also have access to online training. Pharmacists will get a pharmacist support pack and an administration support pack. Novartis have developed a customer-facing website. 4. NPA The NPA's half-day flu vaccination training sessions cover clinical governance and appropriate use of PGDs, practising the vaccination technique, and the management of anaphylaxis and resuscitation. Tel: 01727 858687, ext 3319 or 3527 Email: [email protected] 5. Numark Numark is offering both a full flu training service and a half-day refresher course to its members. The one-day course will cover injection technique, management of anaphylaxis and advice on setting up the service as well as information on the vaccine itself. Pharmacists will get supporting material and access to brand support offering additional rebate on Crucell vaccines ordered through Phoenix.

Tips for your CPD entry on flu vaccination

Reflect Would my patients and pharmacy benefit from a flu vaccination service? Plan Research service delivery options and draw up a business plan. Act Sign up to your chosen flu vaccination service, attend training, and launch and implement your service. Evaluate Have my patients and pharmacy benefited from my flu vaccination service?

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