Community pharmacists in Scotland will receive a £250 fee for participating in this year’s expanded flu vaccination programme, as well as an additional £8.27 per immunisation, Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) has announced.

It is the first time Scottish pharmacists will be able to administer the NHS flu vaccine after a temporary amendment was made to the Coronavirus Act 2020.

In England, contractors are currently paid £9.58 per administered vaccination, which includes an additional fee of £1.50 in recognition of costs incurred from training and disposal of clinical waste.

Variation in use of pharmacy

A circular, sent out to Scottish pharmacy teams last week (21 August), said orders for flu vaccine stock are currently being finalised and health boards and community pharmacy health board Committees should agree arrangements as part of any service level agreement.

It added that health boards do not have to use pharmacy contractors in local immunisation programmes, and so there will be variation across the country as to how pharmacy is used.

Matt Barclay, CPS director, said: ‘It is up to individual areas' health board, health and social care partnerships to look at the local populations and their needs, and to determine how best to deliver - for some that might include pharmacy and for some it may not.’

According to the circular, health boards will be able to use pharmacies for a number of different purposes, including to vaccinate specific patient groups, for ‘mop up and top up’ services and sessional vaccination clinics.

Mr Barclay also suggested that Scottish pharmacies may be involved in distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine, if and when one is found.

He said: ‘There will be more partners involved in the delivery of the flu service this year, purely because of the scale and national of the vaccination programme that's required this year and this might lead onto a Covid-19 vaccine in time and pharmacy may well be involved in that too.’

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government announced that fully-funded independent prescriber (IP) training will be offered to newly-qualified pharmacists who complete the NHS Education for Scotland pharmacy foundation training programme.

A new minor illnesses service, NHS Pharmacy First, has also recently been launched in Scotland, to support patients with common ailments and reduce pressure on other areas of the health service.