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MPs snub pharmacy flu jab letter

Oliver Colvile MP said the timing of the letter meant he "didn't expect much to come back"

APPG vice-chair Oliver Colvile has not received any responses to a letter encouraging MPs to promote pharmacy flu services

EXCLUSIVE

The All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) has not received "a single reply" to its letter urging MPs to call  for pharmacy flu services in their constituencies, C+D has learned.

APPG vice-chair Oliver Colvile MP admitted he "frankly, didn't expect very much to come back" from the letter, which the group sent to backbench MPs in every party last month. Along with the letter, the APPG enclosed a voucher from NHS England entitling each MP and their staff to a free NHS flu jab from any participating pharmacy in London. 

Sending out the letter so close to flu season meant many MPs may have already had their jab, Mr Colvile told C+D on Wednesday (December 17). Both MPs and their pharmacist constituents still had a role to play in raising political awareness of the sector, he said.

“I suspect other members of parliament don’t go to their pharmacists, and I’m not sure pharmacists are particularly brilliant at engaging with their local MPs,” he said.


GPs opposing pharmacy flu services

 

Mr Colvile said he would call on the government to encourage clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to make greater use of pharmacies, but he recognised that some GPs opposed this idea. It did not make sense for GPs to claim they were “overworked” while also complaining that pharmacists threatened their livelihood, Mr Colvile said.

“I went to see a GP in my constituency on Friday and he said the problem with [pharmacy flu services] is that [GPs] will lose out because they will lose some work to the pharmacist. Well, they can’t have it both ways,” he told C+D.

The APPG's letter highlighted a flu service delivered by LPC consortium Pharmacy London this winter as an example that could be replicated across the country.

The initiative followed a "packed meeting" hosted by the APPG in parliament in October to explore the success of the London scheme, it said last month. In the meeting, the APPG told MPs that more than 75,000 people had received their jab at a London pharmacy, but only a few areas in the rest of the country offered a similar service.

 

How have you tried to raise your MP's awareness of pharmacy? 

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8 Comments

Dilip Shah, Community pharmacist

Politicians will now sit on the fence as the elections are 5 months away.

Raymond Lee, Community pharmacist

We recently sent invite letters to all the MPs within Lancashire. So far we have engaged with 4 MPs from the 3 main political parties and are in the process of confirming 2 more. We have also been able to promote the community pharmacy manifesto, which is a bigger agenda than just flu.

Richard Buxton, Community pharmacist

In Hampshire & Isle of Wight we took the initiative of writing to every MP in our locality. The response rate was 2, who were very pleased to visit their local pharmacy to promote the service. One jab was done as the other MP had already been vaccinated.

Alchemist 1948, Locum pharmacist

So did Lancashire LPC and that has resulted in 4 MP visits to pharmacies (not sure how many had flu jabs)

Sandra Gidley, Community pharmacist

MPs may not have responded to Oliver, but this does not mean they haven't done something. My successor visited Boots and the service was highlighted in the local paper.

Shenu Barclay, Community pharmacist

OVER THE LAST 6MONTHS I HAVE REALLY WORKED HARD TO RAISE AWARENESS OF DEMENTIA IN PARLIAMENT THROUGH MY LOCAL MP JIM CUNNINGHAM.THIS IS DONE BY JOINING VARIOUS CAMPAIGNS RUN BY ALZHEIMERS SOCIETY AND THE CHARITY MIND.THE RESPONSE I RECEIVED WAS THAT GPS WOULD BE REQUIRED TO MAINTAIN REGISTERS OF DEMENTIA PATIENTS AND REFERRAL PROCEDURES WOULD BE EXPIDITED TO GET AN EARLIER DIAGNOSIS/TREATMENT. SHENU BARCLAY,LOCUM PHARMACIST,COVENTRY

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Why would they respond. Pharmacy is lightweight so they can ignore you with any fear of repercussions.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

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