The multiple suspended its flu service yesterday (September 19) across all its branches in England and Wales “until further notice”, after it identified a “misinterpretation” of the NHS patient group direction (PGD).
Lloydspharmacy confirmed to C+D today that it restarted the service “this morning, after providing clarification on the circumstances under which a QIV should be administered to someone aged 65 and over”.
Pharmacies “misinterpreting” the service
In an email to “all pharmacy colleagues”, Lloydspharmacy’s operations team explained it had suspended the service because “we became aware some teams were misinterpreting the NHS PGD – especially with regard to availability of adjuvanted trivalent vaccine (aTIV) stock”.
Independent pharmacies have previously raised concerns with C+D about the limited supplies of the aTIV vaccine Fluad – the only vaccine NHS England has recommended for over-65-year-olds.
But Lloydspharmacy’s operations team said pharmacy teams should only offer [Fluad] to patients over 65.
“You will see that we have decided not to offer the QIV to patients who are 65 years of age and above regardless of the availability of Fluad.”
Pharmacy teams who “feel there is an immediate need to provide QIV” should contact the multiple’s professional standards team, it added in the email.
Other providers face “similar challenges”
Lloydspharmacy claimed that other flu service providers have experienced “similar challenges” and it is “pleased that our prompt action has highlighted this issue before it became widespread”.
The multiple is liaising with NHS England and Public Health England on the topic, it added. “Our strong stance in temporarily suspending our NHS service has been welcomed for putting patient safety first.”
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) told C+D today that Lloydspharmacy had suspended the service “to clarify the details of this year’s flu vaccination programme with their staff”.
The negotiator highlighted its summary of aTIV guidance, with advice on “exceptional circumstances” for QIV use in over-65s, which it released on Monday (September 17) following “many queries from contractors about ordering and appropriate use of aTIV”.
Read a timeline of the issues relating to supplying Fluad this season here.