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NAPC: GP concerns about flu service are 'legitimate'

Dr Chana: GPs may have to "wade through" paperwork

The lack of national IT system could increase GPs' workload and "undermine" the pharmacy flu service, says National Association of Primary Care chair Nav Chana


Concerns from GP representatives that the national pharmacy flu service could create more work for doctors are “legitimate”, the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) has argued.

It is a “great idea” to commission pharmacists to deliver a national flu service, but the lack of an overarching IT system risks “undermining” the service by forcing GPs to “wade through” bits of paper, NAPC chairman Nav Chana told C+D at the Avicenna UK conference in Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday (September 26).

NHS England revealed last month that the lack of national IT system means some pharmacists may have to rely on paper to inform GPs of vaccinated patients. The British Medical Association was “correct” to point out that this could increase GPs' workload, Mr Chana said. 

“There are concerns about communications. Do GPs know when a vaccine has been given? How will the pharmacist know that the patient is on anticoagulation?" he pointed out.

Dr Chana said that, as a GP, he “welcomed” pharmacists delivering vaccines because it will free up practice staff to complete other tasks. But there were “issues” with the planning and implementation of the scheme, he stressed.

“The big sensitivities nationally are workload and bureaucracy in [general practice]. Anything that adds to that  even a fax  is quite a hassle,” he told C+D.

“The principle makes flipping great sense, but if the implementation is so crap, a great idea is blown,” he added.

Dr Chana called on the sector to provide examples of when flu vaccinations have reduced the workload of GPs to help change the mind of the sector's professional bodies.



Rajendra Thakerar, Community pharmacist

Dr Chana needs to examine his house before making comments on wok loads!! He needs to address the work loads created by GP's on Pharmacist by refusing to send prescriptions by Fax, asking to record in the GP's own books when collecting prescription being at the surgery. when it suits them, they will fax! When trying to speak to GP's is imposible takeing too long etc. GP's should understand we all have common patients and respecting Pharmacist as proffesional will go long way.

Jay Badenhorst, Superintendent Pharmacist

At 11am Tuesday 29th September, 36,000 flu jabs were recorded on PharmOutcomes, the IT platform for many pharmacist, chosen by many LPC's. Funny enough this platform has functionality to email GP's directly with live data and information including read codes etc. There has been incidents where GP representatives in surgeries said they do not want the emails... When will any if the people interviewed, that are very quick to criticise the service, realise that the service (and every other service involving a patient) is about the PATIENT and maybe we should look at solutions. The definition of insanity is doing things the same all the time and expecting a different outcome. If NHS flu jabs haven't reached targets for years why not welcome a new collaborative solution....?!

Ana-Maria Rees, Community pharmacist

Community pharmacy is going ahead, there will be a lot more services that will be commissioned to pharmacies. It is the future whether we like it or not. Yes, it will be hard for the first year, yes it will be challenging paperwork wise. But is our practice, we already liaised with our GP surgeries the first day we started the service and decided with them to send over the paperwork once a week. The whole of London (and a big proportion of the country) if i am not mistaken was last year offering the NHS commissioned flu jabs, there didn't seem to be a problem then with increased workload. Why all of a sudden? We should be proud and make it work as pharmacists, we are finally doing something worth our while.

Honest Tikes, Sales

By sending paperwork weekly you are not in compliance with the service specification

Mi Wa, Community pharmacist

Graham please? You might want to stay onside with the GP's but it's not really us that are upsetting them. They are just not willing to do anything if they're not paid for it. How can you say he has a point when he is saying how hard it is to put a code off a fax on the system. God help him if he gets a consultants letter! Pharmacists have spent most of their working lives being subservient to doctors. We are delighted to have any scraps given to us from the big table. On this occasion our efficiency and customer focus has been used to plug a gap in a service and we have to explain ourselves. Why? As I understand it they get QOF points for achieving flu vaccination targets, so they are getting paid in a roundabout way.

Graham Phillips, Superintendent Pharmacist

Actually he has a point.. and lets be honest GPs are under massive pressure,, why wouldn't they seek to protect their income? The entire debacle is designed to damage GP/CP relationships which is the last thing any of us needs, as I wrote recently for GP Magazine:

Bal Singh, Locum pharmacist

I'm confused, does the Dr. themselves do the paperwork, or does their staff? Could that possibly be the same staff my local surgeries have assigned to call up all their patients for the flu vaccine and book them in over the phone? I wonder what jobs those staff are doing outside of flu season? and what is happening to those jobs now?

Ari Butt, Community pharmacist

I really do not understand why the GP's are so frustrated at pharmacists doing the flu service. Most surgeries do not achieve the target set to vaccinate those in the clinical risk groups so what is all the fuss about ? The future of healthcare is collaboration between the various healthcare professions for the benefit of the patient .

Bal Singh, Locum pharmacist

The fuss is that they GP surgery will not achieve their money for the service....or will have lost money on vaccinations ordered but not used.

Zed Mountford-Hill, Community pharmacist

It's these types of small minded comments that undermine the progression of a shared agenda between pharmacists and GPs. As a vaccinating pharmacist in the community sector I could quite easily complain that I have to fill all a patients details out on PharmOutcomes and then print the forms out and get a patients signature and then send the form to the GP surgery in order to waste their time informing them that one of their patients has been vaccinated under the NHS Flu Vaccination Service. But I choose not to, I choose to rise above the mediocrity of small minded thinking that will see our sector stagnate further while the healthcare agenda continues to evolve. Yes I agree the service isn't perfect but these throwaway comments are unnecessary and I expect better from someone in Dr Chana's position. For goodness sakes stop marginalising our profession and making ludicrous claims that our vaccinating patients is creating more work because someone at the GP surgery may have to read a fax. To paraphrase; what a load of crap! ;)

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

I'm sure that we will get over it!

Khaled Bahashwan, Locum pharmacist

How will the pharmacist know that the patient is on anticoagulation?" he pointed out To answer this: different ways; new patients; We ask patients to tell us what medication they are on, regular patients; we check our PMR. In all cases, if in doubt, we would always ring GPs to check their upto date medications.

THB _B, Community pharmacist

If Dr Chana has bothered to read the outcomes of the pilots he would already have his evidence!

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