The RPS and RCGP have urged pharmacists and GPs to “work together” during the upcoming flu vaccination season to “maximise the number of people who will receive a flu jab”.
A collaborative approach will help to achieve the government's ambition of delivering the biggest flu vaccination programme in history, the organisations said in a joint statement earlier this week (September 21).
The RPS and RCGP have “agreed a number of principles and recommendations, including collaboration; using the skill mix of healthcare professions to support vaccinations; and ensuring staff safety”, the two representative bodies said.
The full guidance, setting out seven recommendations and the reasons behind them, outlines how GPs and community pharmacies can join forces to deliver flu vaccinations.
It stresses that “a well-coordinated, collaborative approach to flu vaccination is crucial across primary care”.
“This should include mechanisms to ensure any possible competition between health care providers does not impact negatively on GP or pharmacy practice or lead to unnecessary tensions between the professions,” according to the document.
The RPS and RCGP recommendations include creating national NHS information systems to enable data sharing between community pharmacy and general practice and a focus on “person-centred care” by those administering flu jabs.
They also called on the government to “work with NHS bodies and providers to ensure adequate vaccine supply to deliver an expanded flu programme”.
RPS: Collaboration “more important than ever”
RPS president Sandra Gidley, said that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and “winter pressures”, it is this year “ more important than ever that pharmacists and GPs work together so everyone who needs a flu vaccination can get one”.
“This needs to be supported by adequate resources, the right information systems, and ensuring staff can work safely,” she added.
Dr Jonathan Leach, RCGP joint honorary secretary, said that by “working together across primary care”, community pharmacies and GPs can “ensure that vulnerable individuals are able to access the protection which the flu vaccine affords”.