Community pharmacy contractors who fully meet the requirements for the NHS seasonal flu vaccination service now have the go ahead to provide it from 1 September 2019.

The advanced service should be provided until 31 March 2020, but the focus should be on vaccinating eligible patients as soon as the vaccine is available by 31 January 2020.

There are a number of changes to the 2019-20 season, including that contractors are no longer required to ask patients to complete a questionnaire after they are vaccinated.

Notifications of a patient being vaccinated can also no longer be sent to their GP by fax, pharmacists should use post, hand delivery, email or secure electronic data interchange.

The payment per vaccine has increased to £8.08, plus the additional fee of £1.50 per vaccination. Claims for payments must be made using the NHSBSA Manage Your Service platform within six months of the vaccine being administered, or by 31 August 2020.

Are you ready?

The NHS England service specification details the requirements contractors need to meet, and this should be read and understood by all pharmacists providing the service.

All pharmacists administering the flu vaccine under the national Patient Group Direction (PGD) must download and read a copy of the direction and complete the practitioner declaration. The authorising manager declaration must also be completed.

Other key requirements include:

  • Ensuring the standard operating procedure for the service is up to date.
  • Ensuring that training for all pharmacists providing vaccinations on behalf of the pharmacy is up to date and support staff are aware of the service and eligible patients.
  • Ensuring adequate stocks of consent forms and any other relevant paperwork.
  • Ensuring the pharmacy is registered on the MYS platform for submitting payment claims.
  • Ensuring there is a clearly designated room for consultation, which is private and hygienic.
  • Being aware of expected delivery timelines and storage requirements for vaccines.

More information is available in the PSNC guidance briefing for 2019-20.

Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at PSNC, said: ‘I hope that pharmacy teams will, once again, show what they are capable of and really get behind the flu service to ensure eligible patients are vaccinated.’