Contractors will receive a £9.58 fee for each flu vaccination they deliver and will no longer be required to ask patients to complete a questionnaire after the service.
The fee for the service will increase by 10p to £8.08 per administered dose plus an additional fee of £1.50 per vaccination, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) announced this afternoon (23 August).
Contractors will not have to ask patients to complete a questionnaire after they have received a flu vaccination thanks to the ‘proven success of the service’, PSNC said.
The service is due to commence on 1 September pending amendments being made to the Secretary of State directions made by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
The negotiator said it will notify contractors when the amendments have been made and there is a fixed date on which they can begin to offer the service.
Other changes to the service that PSNC has agreed with NHS England and NHS Improvement include the movement of payment claims and notifications to electronic systems.
Contractors must now make claims for flu jab payments via the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) Manage Your Service (MYS) platform, which will also be the route for claiming Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS) payments.
To support health secretary Matt Hancock’s aim to ban fax machines in the NHS by April 2020, notifications of patient receipt of a vaccination can no longer be sent to the patient’s GP practice by fax.
‘An expanded role’
PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton said he was pleased to confirm the changes, which will bring ‘some very welcome extra income’ to contractors.
He said: ‘Pharmacy teams worked extremely hard last year to overcome the challenges of the phased deliveries of adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine for people aged 65 years and over. Despite this significant obstacle, they still managed to deliver an impressive 1.4 million flu vaccinations, supporting the national vaccination effort and providing a convenient service to local patients.’
Mr Buxton is ‘confident’ that community pharmacies will see another ‘excellent’ flu vaccination season, he said.
He added: ‘We are also working to input into the national review of vaccination and immunisation, using the success of the national pharmacy flu vaccination service, along with local evidence, to make the case for an expanded role for pharmacies in national vaccination programmes. We believe there is much potential for community pharmacies to help improve local uptake of more vaccinations, working collaboratively with general practice as part of Primary Care Networks.’
‘This will not be an easy few months’
Gary Warner, independent community pharmacy contractor and chair of PSNC’s service development subcommittee, welcomed the decision to get rid of the patient questionnaire.
This recognises that patients value the service and ‘is indicative of the new and more collaborative relationship’ that PSNC are building with the NHS and the Government, he said.
He added: ‘Efficiencies like this will also be particularly important this year as we head into an incredibly busy autumn and winter period for pharmacies. With the launch of the new NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) and all the work associated with the PQS to fit in alongside the usual winter vaccination season, this will not be an easy few months for any community pharmacy.
‘However, if we can succeed in offering new services and flu vaccinations at our usual high standards, then we will be positioning ourselves very strongly for the future, helping the NHS to deliver its all-important Long-Term Plan.’
The new service specification and patient group direction have been published today by NHS England.