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BMA slams flu service for 'undermining' GP relationships

GP national pharmacy flu service vaccinations
BMA: No evidence the pharmacy flu scheme increases uptake

The British Medical Association (BMA) has accused the pharmacy flu service of “undermining good working relationships” between practices and pharmacists.

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.”

Remuneration concerns

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.

How have GPs in your area reacted to the pharmacy flu service?

Anonymous Anonymous, Information Technology

Awww diddums...

Michael the Technician, Pharmacy technician

In my experience, the people who take up the Pharmacy flu scheme are either unwilling or unable to get to the surgery anyway.

Sharon Stone, Communications

OMG, GP's want every last crumb , with nothing left for anyone else ...........Shameful !

Jay Badenhorst, Superintendent Pharmacist

If there is no evidence that pharmacy increased uptake, and pharmacy delivered a large proportion of it last year, does that mean if pharmacy didn't deliver it last year, GP's would have seen a significant reduction?

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

GPs have never reached the target they have been set, they simply order as many as they think they can do easily and rake in the dosh... now they are having to compete for it they arent so happy.. strangely patient service seems more important to them suddenly, cant imagine why.

David Kent, Community pharmacist

The poor dears are obviously on the breadline!


A Hussain, Senior Management

He is a partner in a dispensing GP practice.  That also tends to undermine GP/Pharmacist relations.

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

It's always about the money

A Hussain, Senior Management

I've got no problem at all with that in this case if they'd just admit it.  I didn't have a clue how much was made on a flu jab until I started doing them.  The lacklustre approach our surgery used to have suggested that they were only getting paid pennies for them rather than what I think is a decent amount.

A Hussain, Senior Management

This would “have long-term implications that reach well beyond the flu campaign”, Dr Green warned.

Sounds like a threat to me.

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Of course, increasing use of branded generics to circumvent contractually agreed community pharmacy income is the number one method to build and maintain trust in relationships, yes...?

Sachin Badiani, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

And Ben pulls a corker with this comment.

C+D: ask Pulse to ask their GP readers about branded generics...

Jay Badenhorst, Superintendent Pharmacist

But Ben surely that is a saving to the NHS....!

I'm sure you know I'm being sarcastic...

Andy Burrells, Community pharmacist

After reading some of the comments posted on Pulse this week, my trust for GPs as a fraternity is at an all time low.

Let them get on with their moaning while we offer valuable provision to the community building relationships along the way

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

The yearly childish squabble begins.... ANd what relationship do they speak of? Is that the one similar to that of an adult and a toddler. I'll leave to your imagination to work out whether pharmacists are the toddlers or the adults in this so called  'relationship'

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