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.