Further details about how community pharmacists are expected to deliver a national influenza vaccination service in England have been published by the Department of Health and pharmacy negotiators.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) hopes once the final statutory steps are completed by the NHS — expected to happen in the next few days — pharmacists will be able to vaccinate their first patients as part of the new advanced service.
The service specifications — available on the PSNC website — spell out how pharmacists can ensure they have everything in place to provide the service, including systems for data collection and vaccine storage, and can confirm they are appropriately trained and know how to gain patient consent.
“Publication of the service specification for this service is a huge relief to both us and pharmacy contractors,” says PSNC’s director of NHS services Alastair Buxton. “We expect the regulatory and other logistical matters to be confirmed later this week and hope pharmacies will be in a position to begin vaccinating patients in the next few days.”
The new advanced service — announced in July 2015 as part of the national funding settlement for England — represents a “big step forward” for the profession, says Buxton. “It’s important that we make the most of this opportunity to show what a difference we can make,” he adds.