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'Tricky' situation hinders aligning GP/pharmacy flu plans

NHS England plans to align the GP and pharmacy flu services, C+D's investigation has revealed
NHS England plans to align the GP and pharmacy flu services, C+D's investigation has revealed

Plans to align the pharmacy and GP flu services this year could be hindered by the “tricky” situation the sector is facing, NHS England has warned.

The commissioner “has not started any discussions" on the 2017-18 pharmacy flu service, it told C+D last month (February 21).

In an email about the service sent by NHS England to Public Health England (PHE) in December 2016 – and obtained by C+D under a freedom of information request – the commissioner revealed that its “intent this year is to align everything [in the pharmacy flu service] with the timescales of the GP service specifications [and] patient group direction (PGD)”.

“We are looking towards completion by end of March,” it told PHE.

“That said, we haven’t started any negotiations yet and given all that is going on in community pharmacy at the moment that could be tricky.”

"We will need to keep you updated as things happen," it added.

NHS England was responding to a request from PHE to be given as much warning as possible before it would be expected to deliver the PGD and specifications for the 2017-18 pharmacy flu service.

Following the launch of the first national pharmacy flu service in 2015, a third of C+D readers said earlier publication of these documents was the “one change” that would have most improved their preparation for the scheme.

How did you find the rollout of last season's flu service?

Charles Whitfield Bott, Pharmacist Director

1700 vaccines ordered with the possiblilty of no service next year and they think they are in a tricky situation!


Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Could the "tricky situation" be the legal challenge to the cuts that is due to go to the High Court this month?

Nat Mitchell, Community pharmacist

I wish we could just get the PGD early so we could read it properly, sign it and just organise our training so that all we are waiting for is vaccine to arrive.  Why make it so convoluted? That's a rhetorical question by the way.

A Hussain, Senior Management

Get the PGD's sorted now and let any pharmacist that's trained and authorised start vaccinating as soon as they can get their hands on vaccine.  There's nothing 'tricky' about it.  Let the GP's start as early as they want to too and if they're willing to start as early as us then we will be alligned perfectly.

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

"Tricky situation", "We will need to keep you updated as things happen..."

I'll have to start using these lines - brilliant!

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