The National Pharmacy Association said that its members have a legal foundation to seek compensation for losses incurred due to changes in the start date of the NHS flu vaccination service in England. Following legal counsel, the NPA decided to escalate the matter with NHSE, both to address the current situation and to emphasise the importance of due process for the future.
NPA members have acquired stock at their own risk, expecting the service to be commissioned as usual, the NPA said in a letter to NHS England Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard.
“NHS England should anticipate being accountable for financial losses, encompassing wasted stock, added storage expenses, and increased staffing outlays, stemming from the belated announcement of the NHS flu service’s postponement,” said Mark Lyonette, NPA’s Chief Executive. “The NPA will assist our members in ascertaining loss and evaluating the viability of a successful compensation claim.”
“Even at this advanced stage, NHS England retains the option to return to standard procedure, optimising the impact of this year’s flu campaign,” Lyonette added. “However, we believe it’s prudent to alert them about potential repercussions if they opt otherwise. While we appreciate the recent allowance for pre-booked appointments to proceed, the NPA maintains that deferring the start date still disrupts a formerly effective NHS initiative.”
NHSE has recently conveyed that pharmacy owners can proceed with administering vaccinations to patients who have pre-booked their flu vaccination appointments for September. However, in line with the earlier announcement, the formal launch of the vaccination service will begin in October.
In previous communications, the NPA highlighted that the last-minute alteration has significantly demoralised diligent pharmacy contractors, who have demonstrated their efficacy in providing health-protecting services under challenging circumstances.
“A number of these contractors are already at a financial cliff edge,” the association had said.
Last week, NPA unveiled the theme for this year’s ‘Ask Your Pharmacist Week’ campaign: Meet Your Local Pharmacy Team. The campaign, set for October 30 to November 6, aims to raise awareness about pharmacy services, initiate conversations with local stakeholders, and underscore the role and benefits of community pharmacies.