Pharmacists should challenge claims that the pharmacy flu vaccination scheme is costing GPs money, new PSNC guidance scheme has said.

The document advises LPCs on how to tackle negativity from GP Local Medical Committees about the recommissioning of the pharmacy flu service and gives suggested responses to some common concerns that doctors have raised.

This includes GP claims that the programme would lead to a shortage of vaccines, concerns over accurate record keeping and greater complexity for GP practices, as well as the claim that pharmacists are not adequately trained to administer the jab.

The PSNC published the guidance document, PSNC Briefing 053/16: Flu Vaccination: Responsive Lines for LPCs, after complaints were logged with LPCs across the country that pharmacies were poaching patients from GP practices.

Sandra Gidley, board chair of the RPS’s English Pharmacy Board, told The Pharmacist that collaborative working between pharmacies and GPs would create a “win-win” – reducing pushback from the medical profession and boosting overall vaccination numbers.

She said: “In some parts of the country, [LPCs and LMCs] have come to an agreement where they've said, 'OK doctors, you vaccinate everybody up until the end of October/beginning of November, and then let's work together and target the ones who need vaccines and get them to come in wherever'.

“At that stage, they say, ‘Why not share your list with us so we can target the ones who haven’t been vaccinated’. It might be more convenient for them to come to pharmacy, and we can encourage them.”

Essex LPC’s contract development manager Karen Samuel-Smith said that last year, there had been “intimidation and mixed messages”, which led to Essex missing targets by “long way”.

She added: “So this year, we sat down with the LMC back in June and took the emotion out of it. We’ve now got a really good working relationship with the LMC, where they’ll let us know if any pharmacies are aggressively poaching patients and we let them know if any GPs are intimidating patients or pharmacies.”

Six weeks into this year’s vaccination campaign, Essex LPC has received just three reports of issues between pharmacies and their local GP practices, all of which have been resolved before escalating to a complaint.