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PSNC already pressing for next pharmacy flu service

Alastair Buxton: Contractors need as much notice as possible for service

PSNC wants to secure a national service "as soon as possible" to give pharmacists time to prepare, says director of NHS services Alastair Buxton


The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) is already pressing the NHS to commission another national flu service.

England’s first national pharmacy flu service ended last week (March 1), with pharmacists delivering nearly 500,000 vaccines to patients.

PSNC told C+D yesterday (March 7) that it hopes the service will be recommissioned in time for the 2016-17 flu season.

“We are pressing for a decision as soon as possible, because we recognise contractors need as much notice as possible to prepare for the service,” said PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton.

NHS England – which commissioned last year’s service – told C+D it has not yet made an assessment of the success of the service.

487,000 patients vaccinated

PSNC data shows that pharmacists delivered almost 487,000 vaccines through the national service.

More than half of the vaccines – 282,000 – were delivered in October. October 6 was the most successful day for the sector, with more than 16,000 patients vaccinated in pharmacies.

PSNC’s statement comes after leading GPs criticised the implementation of the pharmacy service. A representative for the British Medical Association (BMA) told C+D last week that GPs will remain sceptical about the service until it is shown to increase vaccine uptake.

The latest Public Health England (PHE) data shows vaccination rates for at-risk patients for the last flu season were lower than the previous two years.

NHS England told C+D that a number of factors could have affected vaccination rates, including mild weather and low circulation of flu.


How would you improve the flu service for next season?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


Chris Mckendrick, Community pharmacist

NHS England needs to make up it's mind once and for all if it wants to engage with community pharmacy or not. Community pharmacy has proved that from a standing start, it can deliver a professional, efficient service. As for the at-risk patients who slipped through the net, imagine how many could be identified and encouraged to be vaccinated if we knew it was worth our while contacting them. Who knows, we could even collaborate with our GP colleagues to do so, making the patient the focus of the service, or is that a bit too radical? Oh no, just remembered, more pharmacies than are necessary, too many in clusters, need to reduce numbers so cut funding, therefore can't give Pharmacy any services they can deliver and make money out of or none will close and we'll be stuck with clusterville

Hemant Patel, Community pharmacist

Whilst you are at it can you do something about the £170 million please? Wonder which is an easier task?

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

It does not affect his livelihood so why should he worry about such a small sum.

Ramin Hashemi, Student

We need patients on our back. I.e getting them to fill forms weather it's petition or anything please let's learn from Dr's how they achieve the petition.

A Hussain, Senior Management

I bet we will only be allowed to vaccinate in October.

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

perhaps if there was some way of returning all the patient feedback forms which were a mandatory part of the service it would help them  "assess the service" and take up less space in my cupboards....

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