The multiple has been in contact with “around four” surgeries to “discuss options to help them based on their specific needs, which includes referring patients to our pharmacies to ensure they are protected”, its superintendent Janice Perkins told C+D exclusively this morning (September 21).
“GP surgeries have faced some issues with vaccine shortages, and we are working together to support them, ensuring that all vulnerable patients are protected against flu,” Ms Perkins said.
Well told C+D it was unable to reveal the names of the surgeries it has been supporting.
Ifti Khan, NHS standards and services manager at Well, told C+D the multiple has “actively encouraged” its pharmacies to have “local conversations” with GPs.
“Some local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) have been coordinating this activity and have reached out to us to support GP surgeries who have low stock,” he added.
Contractors have previously raised concerns with C+D about the limited supplies of the aTIV vaccine Fluad – which is manufactured by Seqirus and is the only vaccine pharmacies are allowed to offer over-65s this flu season, according to NHS England guidance.
PGD “more complicated” this year
Commenting on Lloydspharmacy’s decision on Wednesday (September 19) to suspend its service for a day after it identified a “misinterpretation” of the NHS patient group direction (PGD) in certain pharmacies, Ms Perkins said: “This year’s flu vaccination PGD is more complicated than in previous years.”
“As a result, we have provided our colleagues with additional training and support,” added Ms Perkins, who said Well is continuing to offer its flu service.
Rowlands checked all branches understand flu PGD
Rowlands also confirmed that it has “no intention at this stage” of suspending its flu service.
“In light of concerns raised, we have rechecked that all our pharmacies understand fully the NHS PGD. No concerns have been raised,” the multiple told C+D yesterday (September 20).
Rowlands’ parent group Phoenix Medical – which owns Numark and wholesaler Phoenix UK – has “confirmed receipt” of the “first wave” of Fluad stock, it added.
View a timeline of the issues with flu stock this season.