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.