NHS England has announced they will recommission the Community Pharmacy Flu Vaccination programme in a move that has been hailed as “great news for patients”.
Pharmacists will one again administer the jabs after nearly a quarter of a million more people benefitted from vaccinations in a community pharmacy setting during the winter of 2015/16.
A total of 10,407,913 seasonal flu vaccinations were delivered, including 240,259 additional patients who chose to receive vaccinations in a community pharmacy compared to the previous year.
The number of the most vulnerable patients receiving flu vaccination - those in an ‘at risk’ category and pregnant women - also increased, despite the mild winter.
Chair of the English Pharmacy Board, Sandra Gidley, said: “This is great news for patients, and an excellent way of demonstrating that pharmacists can routinely be turned to for preventative healthcare.
“Around a quarter of a million additional patients chose to receive vaccinations in a community pharmacy compared to the previous year.
“Flu vaccinations are a great example of how pharmacists can help ease overstretched GP surgeries. Close and effective collaboration with our GP colleagues should help make this year even more successful in terms of delivery.
“One of the English Board’s aspirations is to ‘make every pharmacy a public health centre’, promoting national commissioning for this and other services deliverable by pharmacists and the pharmacy team.”
The terms and fees for the recommissioned service will remain the same as in the 2015/16 and the early announcement this year should support pharmacies in managing and ordering vaccine stocks.
Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer, said: “Our flu vaccination service made it possible for nearly a quarter of a million more people last year to receive a vaccination in their local community pharmacy of choice.
“We are pleased to confirm that we will continue to offer this more convenient option to the public during the year ahead.”