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.