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NHS England mulls commissioning pharmacies to deliver more vaccines

NHS England aims to build upon pharmacy's contribution to seasonal influenza coverage
NHS England aims to build upon pharmacy's contribution to seasonal influenza coverage

NHS England is considering whether community pharmacies should be commissioned to provide more vaccination services, including MMR jabs, in a bid to increase uptake.

As part of its vaccinations and immunisations review – the interim findings of which were published last week (October 25) – the commissioner is considering “whether there are vaccines which could be safely and efficiently delivered by providers” other than general practices, including measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations.

NHS England told C+D that “building upon the contribution of community pharmacy to seasonal influenza coverage”, community pharmacists are among those alternative providers who could offer more vaccines as part of their work alongside primary care networks (PCNs) – groups of local GP practices covering an average of 50,000 people.

PCNs could receive “incentives” when “optimal vaccination coverage” is achieved at community level, NHS England added in the interim review.

The commissioning body told C+D that discussions on how these vaccination services could be commissioned and remunerated are still ongoing.

Addressing decline in childhood vaccinations

A final version of the review – which was first mentioned in the NHS long-term plan and was commissioned with the purpose of addressing a decline in childhood immunisations – will be released later this year, it added.

“Whilst coverage for most vaccines, especially primary courses of childhood immunisations, is high, there has been a small but steady decline in the last few years, meaning that we do not have a high enough coverage to prevent onward transmission of infections, particularly measles,” NHS England said.

The UK lost its “measles-free” status with the World Health Organisation earlier this year, three years after the virus was eliminated in the country. MMR vaccination rates are at 91.2%, below the recommended 95%, it explained.

The review will also consider whether to extend the list of chargeable travel vaccines available from different healthcare providers, NHS England added.

NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Looking at ways to expand access to appointments will make it even easier for parents to protect their children and with the NHS playing its part, it is vital that everyone takes up this life-saving opportunity.”

Responding to the Prime Minister’s call for “urgent action” on measles in August, Royal Pharmaceutical Society English board chair Claire Anderson told C+D it is a “no brainer” to commission community pharmacies to provide MMR vaccinations.

Do you think pharmacists should offer more vaccines?

C A, Community pharmacist

I'd quite like to do PPV23 if that's OK

Paul Brett, Community pharmacist

Can't understand why pneumococcal isn't commissioned already - I keep having to tell people who I've just administered their first free flu jab to that they have to either pay or go to their GP to get their pneumococcal jab which they're also advised to have.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

I never used to be part of the conspiracy theory surrounding MMR but it's being pushed SO hard now I'm beginning to wonder. Is there some major financial incentive  to the government from this? The latest is that measles is supposed to re-set your immunity back to the baby state! How the hell did the human race manage to survive until the introduction of MMR?

Susan M Shepherd, Community pharmacist

They died.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Think there's 7.5 billion that says that didn't happen.


Joan Richardson, Locum pharmacist

The one thing that you can get appointments for at our local surgery is childhood vaccinations - if you are ill then you face a queue at 7am or a three week wait by which time you are either dead or better!

Community Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Why not 'mull over' something that really needs attention like the hundreds of pharmacies closed/closing  and those facing extreme financial difficulties due to insulting levels of remuneration ? Those 'mulling things over' need to have a reality check.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Services for those pharmacists 'freed' up from the dispensary.....

I wonder if those actually doing the work may even get paid for it instead of passing 100% of any money upstairs ?

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

There is not a cat in hells chance of any pharmacist employee seeing a brass bean from any of these services. In the world of the multiple, merely being allowed to work for them should be seen as reward enough.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

I am sure the extra ""Clinical Pharmacists"" hired by the NHS can be used for doing all these things, instead of replacing the prescription clerk???

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

I know where it is going. The GPs hate and cant do MMR, so push it to the Pharmacists and say If this succeeds then you will get more services. Nahhhh

I would appreciate if they start with Pneumonia and Shingels first and then go to MMR. Do I hear the GPs shouting ???

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