Flu Vaccination – communicating with GP practices
Flu Vaccination – communicating with GP practices
When pharmacy teams provide the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service, notifying the patient’s GP practice is an important service requirement. This is firstly because it is important that the patient’s GP has a full record of vaccinations their patients have received, but also because Public Health England’s (PHE) ImmForm system uses GP records to assess the total number of people who have been vaccinated against flu each year.
Community pharmacy contractors must ensure that a notification of vaccination is sent to the patient’s GP practice on the same day the vaccine is administered or on the following working day. This can be undertaken by post, hand delivery, fax, secure email or secure electronic data interchange. If IT systems such as PharmOutcomes or Sonar Informatics are available to a contractor that allow the notification of a patient’s GP practice to take place electronically, these should ideally be used.
A national GP Practice Notification Form has been agreed by PSNC, NHS England, PHE and the Department of Health and this is to be used in hard copy, by fax or electronically to notify the patient’s GP practice:
Where a patient presents with an adverse drug reaction following the initial vaccination and the pharmacist believes this is of clinical significance, such that the patient’s GP practice should be informed, this information should be shared with the GP practice as soon as possible either via the GP Practice Notification Form or if that has already been sent to the GP practice, by an alternative method of communication.
Click on a heading below for more information.
Should I provide the GP practice with other information?
Some GP practices have asked pharmacy teams for extra information on the flu vaccination, such as the brand, batch number and expiry date of the vaccine administered by the pharmacist. Some practices have also asked for information on the injection site. The national GP Practice Notification Form does not include fields to provide this information to GP practices, as there is no need for GP practices to record this data in their patient records.
It is likely that GP practices that are requesting this information from pharmacies are doing so because they are attempting to record the vaccination undertaken by the pharmacist in the wrong way, for example, they may erroneously be attempting to record the vaccination as if the practice had administered the vaccine.
Page 30 of the following guide for GP practices using the EMIS web clinical system shows that the recording of a pharmacy administered flu vaccination does not require details beyond those that are contained on the national GP Practice Notification Form.
Dealing with local issues related to the service
Sometimes issues with the service may arise between GP practices and community pharmacies; in this situation contractors may wish to seek support and advice from their LPC.
Occasionally PSNC receives reports of GP practices issuing information to their patients that unfairly or inaccurately represents the community pharmacy service. If this occurs, we advise pharmacy contractors to raise the issue with the GP practice concerned. If that does not resolve the issue, contractors should raise the matter with the local NHS England team and their LPC.
There is a tendency for these examples to get circulated around community pharmacy via social media and other routes, which creates a bigger issue out of one incident than may be warranted and it also potentially inspires other practices to copy the approach. PSNC recommends that LPCs and pharmacy teams avoid sharing such matters via social media, as it will not help long term community pharmacy/GP relationships; incidents should be dealt with locally wherever possible.
- PSNC Advanced Services PowerPoint presentation for GPs and hospital colleagues (August 2017)
- PSNC Advanced Services PowerPoint presentation for GPs and hospital colleagues (August 2017) (PDF)
- PSNC Briefing 040/17: NHS community pharmacy Advanced Services – information for general practitioners and practice staff (June 2017)
Q. Does the patient’s GP practice always need to be informed of the vaccination administered to their patient?
Yes. The requirement is that a notification of the vaccination is sent to the patient’s GP practice on the same day the vaccine is administered or on the following working day. If a patient is eligible for a vaccination, but is not registered with a GP practice, it will not be possible for the GP notification to be undertaken by the pharmacy, but the service can be provided to the patient.
Q. Does a GP practice need to know the site of a flu vaccination?
The national GP Practice Notification Form does not include this information. Some GP practices have requested this information from pharmacies, stating that they require this to be recorded in the event that a patient reports an adverse reaction to the vaccine. If in the future this information is required by the GP practice to provide clinical care to the patient, they could ask the patient about the site of the vaccination or if the patient cannot recall this information, the GP practice could request that information from the community pharmacy.
Q. Does a GP practice need to know the manufacturer, batch number and expiry date of flu vaccines administered by a community pharmacy?
The national GP Practice Notification Form does not include this information. Some GP practices have requested this information from pharmacies, stating that they require this to be recorded in their records to allow them to contact patients if there is a drug recall for a specific batch of vaccines. If a drug recall does take place it would be the responsibility of the community pharmacy to identify whether they had vaccinated any patients using the recalled vaccine. The pharmacy would then follow the instructions provided in the recall notice, including contacting patients where this is necessary. That action would not be the responsibility of the patient’s GP practice if they had not administered the vaccine.
Q. Will we need to report vaccinations to GPs or to a national reporting system or both?
National paperwork has been developed to allow the notification of the patient’s GP practice of the administration of the vaccine. If IT systems are available that allow the notification of a patient’s GP practice to take place electronically, these may be used. Notifying the patient’s GP practice is an important service requirement, as is the case for locally commissioned vaccination services.
Q. If a carer consents for me to notify their GP practice that they are a carer after they’ve received a flu vaccination at the pharmacy, how should I notify them?
If a patient has consented for you to notify their GP practice (verbal consent is acceptable), a note can be added to the paper GP notification form to say that the patient is a carer. If the pharmacy is using an nhs.net email address, a note can be included in the body of the email informing the GP practice that the patient is a carer and if PharmOutcomes or Sonar Informatics is being used then a note can be added to the additional comments box.
Q. What are the clinical codes in table 1 of the service specification?
They are codes used by GP practice IT record systems to record clinical information in a standardised way. There are three coding systems currently in use in England and the codes for ‘Seasonal influenza vaccination given by pharmacist’ are listed in table 1 for each of these coding systems. The codes are also listed on the national GP Practice Notification Form.
Q. A local GP practice is communicating incorrect information to their patients about the community pharmacy Flu Vaccination Service. What should I do?
Talk to the practice manager at the GP practice to raise your concerns and to try to get them to correct any misleading information that is being provided to patients. You should also let your LPC know about the matter and agree with them whether they or you will notify the local NHS England team about the issue.