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BMA's view of pharmacy flu service is 'appallingly negative'

Mandeep Mudhar: BMA's comments are inflammatory and inaccurate
Mandeep Mudhar: BMA's comments are inflammatory and inaccurate

Numark has branded the British Medical Association’s (BMA) claims about the pharmacy flu service as “appallingly negative”, and called for the doctors' union to “elaborate further”.

Andrew Green, GP clinical and prescribing policy lead at the BMA, accused the pharmacy flu service of “undermining good working relationships” between practices and pharmacists, and said last week it could “have long-term implications that reach well beyond the flu campaign”.

Dr Green also claimed that “at present, there is still no conclusive evidence that this particular scheme has demonstrated a significant increase in overall uptake”.

Mandeep Mudhar, Numark’s director of marketing and development, told C+D on Monday (September 4) he was “saddened at such an appallingly negative view from the BMA” and urged the union to look positively at how pharmacists and GPs can work together.

“We would like to ask the BMA to expand on [its] comments, which suggest there will be negative consequences for pharmacy in other areas [for] providing this very valuable service to patients,” Mr Mudhar said.

“Perhaps Dr Green would like to elaborate further?”

Numark believes the BMA’s comments to be “inflammatory and inaccurate”, he added.

“Lauded rather than criticised”

Mr Mudhar emphasised that the pharmacy flu service fulfils the needs of many patients, without the constraints of having to arrange an appointment.

“The service has no doubt reduced the burden and workload in GP practices, and actually should be lauded rather than criticised for this reason.”

If the criticism is based on the fact GPs see flu vaccinations in terms of “pure financial reward”, this is “short-sighted” and “takes us back to the dark days where services were the preserve of GPs alone”, Mr Mudhar said.

“[Almost] a million flu vaccinations from pharmacy cannot suggest that there are questions about an increase in overall uptake,” he added.

Find the latest guidance and links to all the up-to-date documents for the 2017-18 national flu service on the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee website.

How have GPs in your area reacted to the pharmacy flu service?

H Gokul, Community pharmacist

Gave flu jabs to people too scared of needles and unwilling to go to doctors because of the waiting. 

Gave over a hundred jabs in a few days to a grateful public who did not want to waste their their (patients) times going to doctors

david williams, Community pharmacist

Difficult one this. We would not like our income divided amongst others. Not saying GP's are correct in their attitude, after all, if patients found vaccinations at the surgery convenient and pleasant, they would still attend there, the fact they don't, is self explanatory. The real problem here is the changing face of healthcare. I work in a very disadvantaged area, with free prescriptions for all. Why therefore am I seeing more prescriptions from online doctors, why have I given a Flu vaccination to a patient, who offered to pay, rather than go the GP, where it was free,they did not know that it was free here at first.

The answer is, more and more people are changing their behaviours and prefer convenience, why take a day off work to see the GP-ring push doctor, call into the pharmacy at lunchtime for a Flu vac. The GP's have never had any competition ethic driving service. Thus they are not yet ready to deliver patient led services. Why don't they vaccinate everyone at the diabetic clinc, the asthma /COPD review/clinic? Answer of I don't have time, is the reason we should do them. Answer of why should I, is the reason patients come to me.

The real solution is for the GP's to realise that patients are at the centre and modify their behaviours and services to deliver what the patient wants and then we would find more patients returning to the surgery. That I believe is fine, as long as they have a Flu vac, I really don't care where.

R Patel, Community pharmacist

Does the Dr have an opinion regarding the constant complaint of the workload and not enough time to spend with patients? Here , we are giving you time to release your and your nurse's burden and all you can do is undermine that help. Let's see some joint patient care between the professions.

Andrew Nicholson, Community pharmacist

Same old news,happens every year drs undervaluing flu vaccination service at pharmacy.I couldn't care less what they think as my patients return year after year!The real news should be the complete failure of delivery by Alliance healthcare!No delivery friday or saturday and aah deliveries are unreliable and intermittent at best!

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

The GPs want to have their cake and eat it - always moaning about how busy and overworked they are, yet when someone tries to ease their workload they lash out.

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

It's only ever about the money. Throw them some ££££ and it gives them a new lease of life. All of a sudden workload burden solved like magic.

Keith Sykes, Community pharmacist

Just ask the patients what they prefer. An organised relaxed setting of their local pharmacy or the wet Saturday morning cattle market they are expected to turn up to.


Abid P, Primary care pharmacist

If both groups see the flu service as a cash cow then the issue is unlikely to get resolved.

SydBashford Sold&Retired&DeRegistered, Community pharmacist

Needed to be challenged. Well done Numark. Where was the NPA, Pharm Soc PSNC?

Meera Sharma, Community pharmacist

Well done for speaking out!

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