The local medical committees (LMCs) and local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) in the south of England have partnered on a campaign to encourage more patients to get a flu vaccination – either at their local pharmacy or GP practice.

The two professions are working together to try and increase the uptake of flu vaccinations, after analysis of previous years showed more needed to be done to encourage patients to get the jab, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said this week (26 November).

The campaign, called Flu Free Wessex, has run in local media and across social media including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter since September.

Each month, the campaign has had a slightly different focus. In September, this was general messages to eligible patients. In October, it focused on those with long-term conditions, and in November it focused on those aged 65 and over.

Before the flu season started, the LMCs and LPCs also sent a joint letter to pharmacies and GP practices explaining the campaign and its benefits.


‘Very positive and constructive’


Deborah Crockford, chief officer at community pharmacy south central, said: ‘Working with our LMC on the promotion of flu vaccinations this year has been a very positive and constructive experience which we intend to continue into other projects.

‘This season, we are all focused on ensuring the maximum availability and uptake of flu vaccinations within our communities, emphasising that the important point is to actually get vaccinated, rather than worry about where you go to get that vaccination.’


'Vital' to work together


Medical director at Wessex LMC, Dr Andrew Purbrick, said it was ‘vitally important’ that pharmacies and general practitioners work collaboratively to meet the challenges currently facing primary care.

‘There have been concerns in the past that general practices and community pharmacies are directly competing for flu immunisations and that this could have a potentially destabilising effect financially for both parties,’ said Dr Purbrick.

‘This year, we were faced with using two different types of vaccine for adults, depending on age, with deliveries to GP practices and pharmacies being staggered. It was clear that this was going to add to the logistical burden for all parties delivering the vaccine and we felt that it would be in everyone’s interest to have a joint approach in promoting the new vaccine and encouraging uptake.’