Community pharmacies in England have been given the go-ahead to start providing flu vaccines from today (September 1) as part of the third national pharmacy flu service.
But Andrew Green, GP clinical and prescribing policy lead at the BMA, told C+D yesterday (August 31) that “in some areas” the “approach” of the pharmacy service has “undermined good working relationships between practices and pharmacists”.
This would “have long-term implications that reach well beyond the flu campaign”, Dr Green warned.
Nearly one million vaccinations were delivered by pharmacists in England as part of the 2016-17 flu service, according to NHS Business Services Authority data.
But Dr Green claimed that “at present, there is still no conclusive evidence that this particular scheme has demonstrated a significant increase in overall uptake”.
”The current decision to recommission is therefore one that many GPs will be surprised at.”
Dr Green also said the BMA remains concerned about current remuneration arrangements for flu vaccinations, which do not “adequately recognise the increased costs incurred by GPs in ensuring that all patients…have access to immunisation”.
He stressed that it is “vital” that the vaccination process is delivered “in the most effective way”.
Last flu season, NHS England confirmed its regional teams would “look into complaints”, following a “small number of local concerns” regarding GP practices deterring patients from the pharmacy flu service.