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Councillors back London pharmacies’ flu vaccination services

Practice Councillors getting their flu jabs administered by pharmacists in Bexley and Greenwich is “great endorsement” of such services, says Bexley LPC chair

Local councillors have been showing their support for the London-wide flu vaccination service by visiting pharmacies for their jabs.  

Bexley Council leader Teresa O'Neill visited Broadway Pharmacy in Bexleyheath and the cabinet member for health and older people at Greenwich Council, John Fahy, dropped into Brownes Chemist, Abbey Wood, Greenwich to receive their vaccinations last month.  

The visits were a "great endorsement" of the area's pharmacy services, said Broadway Pharmacy owner and Bexley LPC chair Bipin Patel. 

"Last winter, local GPs and pharmacists vaccinated over 21,000 people aged 65 and over and we are looking to improve on this figure," said Greewich councillor John Fahy (pictured, left, at Brownes Chemist, Abbey Wood)

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The flu service was a good way of "building a rapport" with local authorities and could lead to greater national recognition for pharmacists, Mr Patel told C+D on Thursday (October 30). "It leads them to thinking of pharmacy as a provider. The flu vaccination service is a good start as it will reduce pressure on GPs and then we can talk about services on the national agenda."

LPC consortium Pharmacy London was commissioned by NHS London to offer the service from October 1. Almost 1,200 pharmacists across London had expressed an interest in offering the service, which aims to vaccinate at-risk and elderly patients, Hiten Patel, a member of Pharmacy London's flu team told C+D last month.  

Bipin Patel said the service had gone well so far but pharmacies needed to be better at promoting it to patients.

"There hasn't been enough time to promote it widely, unlike the GP service, which patients know is coming in October. Hopefully [vaccinating councillors] will promote the service to a different audience," he added.

Cllr Fahy said he was impressed by the marked differences made by pharmacists in his area. "Last winter, local GPs and pharmacists vaccinated over 21,000 people aged 65 and over and we are looking to improve on this figure," he said.

The flu scheme aims to increase vaccine uptake across the capital from 45 per cent to 65 per cent of those considered at risk. Under the scheme, pharmacists will be reimbursed £7.51 per vaccine – the same as GPs.

Should flu vaccination be a national pharmacy service?

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Sachin Badiani, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor


The £7.51 mentioned above, is that inclusive of the cost of the vaccine, or is that what the pharmacy makes from providing the service?

Rekha Shah, Community pharmacist

No that is the fee for vaccinating each patient. The pharmacy also gets re-imbursed an additional amount to cover the cost of the vaccine itself

Harnek Chera, Community pharmacist

That's good because in Coventry it is a similar amount to what was offered without re-imbursing the vaccine!

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