Varicella vaccine
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The NHS England and NHS Improvement, working with Public Health England, has confirmed that the normal training requirements for pharmacists providing the service are being reinstated for the 2021/22 season.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has received several queries from community pharmacy contractors on the training requirements for the NHS Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service (Flu Vaccination Service) 2021/22.

Pharmacists providing the Flu vaccination Service need to attend face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support (including administration of adrenaline for anaphylaxis) training at least every three years. 

In addition to the face-to-face training, within the last two years pharmacists must have completed and signed the Vaccination Services Declaration of Competence (DoC).

Pharmacists are also expected to undertake annual update training each year, to ensure their knowledge stays up to date with changes in practice and guidance. This may involve self-directed learning, using relevant references sources, such as the Green Book and the annual flu letter. It may also include online training which is available from a range of providers.

To support the provision of the service in the 2020/21 season and as part of measures to support pharmacy operations during the pandemic, NHSE&I previously agreed that pharmacists who had undertaken vaccination training in 2017 and were due to repeat face-to-face in 2020 did not need to do this until 2021. 

The requirement for pharmacists to undertake this training on a three-yearly basis is now reinstated. Vaccination services DoC last completed in 2019, 2020, and 2021 must be completed again in 2021, 2022, and 2023 respectively.

Pharmacists can start to work through the Vaccination Services DoC self-assessment framework and complete the learning, training, and assessment to fill any gaps identified. However, the service documents such as the service specification and Patient Group Direction (PGD) for the 2021/22 service are not available yet. Pharmacists will need to read, understand, and sign these documents before they sign their statement of declaration for the Vaccination Services DoC.

Pharmacists are also reminded that if they signed the Vaccination Services DoC last year or during a previous year, they would have declared that they meet or were actively working towards the Consultation Skills for Pharmacy Practice: Practice Standards for England, as determined by Health Education England.

If pharmacists confirmed that they were actively working towards the standards, they declared that they were undertaking the relevant learning and CPD to meet the standards. It is expected that pharmacists will have accessed the standards and associated learning to meet this requirement and that pharmacists should have completed the assessment within 12 months of signing the vaccination Services DoC statement of declaration.

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