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Lloydspharmacy responds to GP letter ‘coercing’ flu jab patients

McKesson UK: There is no room for anticompetitive behaviour over flu vaccinations
McKesson UK: There is no room for anticompetitive behaviour over flu vaccinations

Patients should not be “coerced” into choosing where to get their flu vaccination, Lloydspharmacy’s parent company has said in response to a letter from a GP surgery.

In a letter – a copy of which C+D has seen – sent to patients in England last month, an unnamed GP practice claimed that a “more effective flu vaccine…is only available at the surgery and not at your local pharmacy”.

The letter was brought to the attention of Lloydspharmacy’s parent company McKesson UK by a patient, “and we felt it was important to share”, the company told C+D.

“Patients should be free to choose where and when they get their flu jab. There is no room for coercion or anticompetitive behaviour,” McKesson UK stressed.

“As healthcare professionals, both GPs and pharmacists should be working together to ensure as many people as possible get their vaccination and, in many cases, that is exactly what happens.

“It’s important that patients understand the options available to them and don’t feel pressured into taking up a particular service – pharmacy- or surgery-based,” it added.

Vaccine availability

Community pharmacies are able to order three different vaccines for the 2019-20 season: the standard egg cultured quadrivalent inactivated vaccine (QIVe) for 18-64-year olds; the cell-grown quadrivalent vaccine (QIVc) for nine-year-olds and upwards; and the adjuvanted trivalent vaccine (aTIV) vaccine, Fluad.

Community pharmacies in England delivered more than 1.4 million vaccinations for the 2018-19 national flu service, according to NHS Business Services Authority data.

McKesson UK said: “The success of this commissioned service shows that pharmacists can play a vital role in delivering these kinds of national health initiatives.

“Allowing people this additional option should in turn free up some capacity for GPs to focus on more complex health issues.”

How is your flu season going this year?

Kirit Shah, Community pharmacist

Do you really think any actions are likely to happen?!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

We have this every year, can't we all just get along?

Career Miss Take, Locum pharmacist

Patients are free to go where they want. From my experience it’s easier to see someone at  Thomas Cook than see a gp

elizabeth hills, Community pharmacist

At my local surgery patients were being signposted to pharmacy as the GP’s had not got enough jabs in. Not the official line I am sure but the receptionists understood that telling a vulnerable patient they may be able to have one in November is not acceptable. 

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Elizabeth - Good to hear. It's nice to know that there are (the majority of?) GPs who will think of the patient/greater good than their own pockets

Heather Pharm Tech, Allocation & Distribution

It's the same gosh darned vaccine... Lies!!!!!!!!!

Ravi Patel, Community pharmacist

The surgery near where I live texted to come in for a flu jab on a certain day and "enjoy some tea and cakes afterwards" - why stop there,  perhaps also offer patients a £1 coin on the way out (!)

RS Pharmacist, Primary care pharmacist

teas and cakes... then what... a free NHS health check (to see if you now also have diabetes) ???

david williams, Community pharmacist

At least the surgery that said "we need the funds" was honest and did not hide behind any bull. Most GP's will tell you, "give us the money you took off us and we won't touch the flu jabs" GP's are very poor in a free market situation, they have always had "support"

C A, Community pharmacist

But the DoH is against support and "subsidies"... at least when it comes to pharmacy

Sham Iqbal, Community pharmacist

This sort of thing makes me laugh and we are still told by our negotiators and NHS that PCNs (with GPs controlling these) will be the next big opportunity for community pharmacy. Are they for real???


Tired Manager, Community pharmacist

I get the impression GP's know they are fighting a losing battle... how can they compete with a walk-in no appointment necessary service? 

ABC DEF, Primary care pharmacist

I beg to differ. The claim of walk-in and no appt service is constantly advertised but at the same time constantly undelivered because of no staff and no capacity. Also surgeries don't care about who is administering the flu jabs as long as they are done. I still remember Boots used to have 50+ pages of learning to do before one can get signed off. In surgeries HCAs and even admin staff are administering them with or without proper training.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Dear editor could we have a look at """In a letter – a copy of which C+D has seen – sent to patients in England last month,"" PLEASE???

Kevin Cheng, Community pharmacist

One of the local surgeries had a poster saying 500 flu vaccines had to be destroyed last year because people went elsewhere to get their flu jabs

C A, Community pharmacist

They would be on sale or return... so no real loss. Plus how many do they waste on an average year? Or is it none because they find a patient with a "clinical need"?

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

What about Pharmacies destroying vaccines as the patients were coerced in to having it done at the surgery (waiting in a long Q for over 2-3 hours)??

Best if they ordered less and let the Pharmacies handle the burden.

Stephanie Howell, Community pharmacist

My local surgery have also put a sign up saying get your flu jab at the surgery and not the pharmacy as they need the funds. Last year patients were telling me the surgery had a more effective flu jab on offer.  

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Publish the letter

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

This needs reporting to the GMC - GPs telling lies is professional misconduct!

A Hussain, Senior Management

It's about time that NHSE took action against these bare-faced lies.  It's bringing the service and reputations of HCP's into disrepute.

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