Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services, PSNC

The community pharmacies are expected to get an update on the remuneration for this winter season’s flu vaccination, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has said.

Pharmacies have begun their winter vaccination task from Tuesday (September 1).

“The negotiations with DHSC and NHSE&I on the funding for the service are still ongoing. We hope a conclusion to these discussions will be reached early next week, following which we will be able to provide an update to contractors,” the pharmacy body said last week.

Commenting on the funding, Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services, PSNC said: “It is frustrating that we are not able to confirm the funding details for the service so close to its launch, but PSNC believes that continuing to push HM Government and the NHS to provide the right funding for contractors is the right thing to do.”

The PSNC has reached a deal with NHSE&I and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to introduce the following flexibilities for current winter flu jabs.

  • Vaccination in the pharmacy is allowed outside the consultation room, but elsewhere within the premises, where this supports better social distancing and it can be undertaken in a way which maintains patient safety, and confidentiality.
  • Off-site provision, for example in locations that may provide greater space for patients, greater ability to manage patient flow to maintain social distancing and better waiting facilities in the event of poor weather. The sites could include, marquees outside the pharmacy premises, local village, town, community, church halls, car parks, and sports halls or stadiums.
  • Care homes-contractors were already able to vaccinate patients in care homes and will now also be able to vaccinate care home staff at their place of work.

The existing flexibility which allows vaccination of patients in their own homes will continue. Discussions are ongoing to allow pharmacies to focus solely on the provision of flu vaccinations during a proportion of their opening hours.

Vaccination for people in 50 to 64 age group

The people in the age group 50 to 64 years cannot be vaccinated, unless they are already eligible for vaccination due to being in a clinical-risk group, under the NHS service until an announcement is made by NHSE&I, probably in November or December.

Earlier, the government had announced that, this year, flu vaccination would be offered to people aged 50 to 64 years.

The decision on commencing vaccination of this group of patients will be informed by the availability of vaccine and progress made with vaccinating other target groups.

“DHSC have centrally purchased additional flu vaccines for the season, to ensure there will be sufficient stock available to pharmacies and general practices to vaccinate the increased cohort of eligible patients. An announcement on how the centrally procured stock will be distributed will be made in due course,” the PSNC has said.

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