NHS England has agreed to increase the fee for each administered dose from its 2018-19 level of £7.98, to £8.08 for the 2019-20 flu season. Combined with the additional fee – which will remain at £1.50 – it means each pharmacy will now receive £9.58 per vaccination.
No patient questionnaires and no faxes
“Due to the proven success” of the pharmacy flu service, contractors will no longer be required to ask patients to complete a questionnaire after they have received a flu vaccination, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said.
In line with health secretary Matt Hancock’s vision to ban all fax machines in the NHS by 2020, contractors will also no longer be able to notify GP practices by fax once a patient has received a flu vaccination.
Instead, contractors are required to send notifications by “post, hand delivery, secure email or secure electronic data interchange”, according to the service specification.
Claims for payments must now be made using the NHS Business Services Authority’s “manage your service” platform, within six months of administering the flu vaccination, PSNC added.
The changes to the service have been announced alongside the publishing of the service specification and patient group direction for the 2019-20 season. Pharmacies will be able to start offering the service from September 1, subject to the Department of Health and Social Care amending the state of directions, PSNC said.
Alastair Buxton, PSNC director of NHS services, said: “We are pleased to confirm these changes to the service, which build on last year’s improvements and should once again help to streamline some of the processes for pharmacy teams.
“The increase in payments…will of course also bring some very welcome extra income for contractors.”
Referring to the phased deliveries of Fluad – the only vaccine pharmacies were allowed to offer over-65s last season – Mr Buxton said pharmacy teams worked “extremely hard” to overcome the “significant obstacle” and “still managed to deliver an impressive 1.4 million flu vaccinations”.
PSNC is using the success of the pharmacy flu vaccination service “to make the case for an expanded role for pharmacies in national vaccination programmes”, he added.