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London health chief: Records access would boost flu services

Greater London Authority head of health Helen Walters says offering flu jabs is a "win-win" for pharmacists and patients

Sharing records with GPs would improve pharmacy's flu vaccination rate, says Greater London Authority head of health Helen Walters



Giving pharmacists access to patient records would strengthen the sector's vaccination role, a London health chief has told C+D.

Greater London Authority head of health Helen Walters said it would be "fab" if pharmacists could access records as this would ensure GPs were aware when their patient was vaccinated.

“One of the issues for me is recording that the jab is done. Are you sure that the information goes back to the GP so the patient record is complete?” Dr Walters said at a London policy event on health inequalities last week (February 4).

Offering flu jabs was a “win-win situation” for pharmacists and patients, as it was good for business and increased vaccination rates in deprived areas, she said. 

NHS England reported a record-breaking pharmacy flu vaccination season in London this winter, and Dr Walters said it would be "great" if the sector continued to deliver more jabs. "They've got the skills and are part of communities," she added.

The future of vaccinations

Rekha Shah, vice chair of Pharmacy London - which secured funding for pharmacy flu vaccinations across the capital - agreed the future of vaccination services in pharmacies relied on record sharing. "You're not going to be able to do that much without access," she told C+D. 

Being able to view summary care records would be "really useful" to ensure patients with mental health issues or dementia did not receive the flu vaccination twice, she stressed. Although this was less of a risk for other patient groups, records access would also be of benefit for infrequent immunisations, such as the pneumococcal vaccination. 

"If someone was given [the vaccination] 10 years ago, it might not have registered in their mind that they were having it," Ms Shah said. "The memory of some patients isn't that reliable and that is somewhere it would really help." 

Last week, NHS England's head of immunisations for London Kenny Gibson told C+D that PSNC data showing that 90 per cent of LPCs had been commissioned to deliver a flu service this winter would strengthen the evidence base for these services.


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