Ask PSNC: Flu vaccination of social care workers FAQs

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Ask PSNC: Flu vaccination of social care workers FAQs

November 20, 2017

The team at PSNC has received a number of queries ahead of the addition of the social care workers group to the NHS Flu Vaccination Service 2017/18. Below are some of the questions asked in recent weeks.

Q. What is different about the updated Flu Vaccination Advanced Service?
The only change to the service specification and Patient Group Direction (PGD) is the addition of care home and domiciliary care workers to the eligible group of patients that can be vaccinated. Therefore, the following documents have been updated due to this change:

  • service specification;
  • PGD;
  • GP notification form;
  • patient questionnaire; and
  • record and consent form.

Please note that the term for this group on the above documentation appears as “social care worker”.

Pharmacy teams should dispose of the superseded forms and documentation and use the updated materials from 20th November 2017.

Q. Do pharmacists providing the service need to sign a new Patient Group Direction (PGD)?
Yes. If the community pharmacy wishes to provide the Flu Vaccination Service to care home and domiciliary care workers, community pharmacists must sign the new PGD, alongside a signature from an authorising manager. The old PGD will still be valid but does not include care home and domiciliary care workers, so this cohort will not be able to be vaccinated as part of the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service unless the new PGD is signed.

Q. Which care home and domiciliary care workers are eligible to receive the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service?
Only health and social care staff (aged 18 years and over) employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza, meaning those patients/clients in a clinical risk group or aged 65 years and over, are eligible to be vaccinated by community pharmacies.

Q. Can the community pharmacy provide vaccinations to care home and domiciliary care workers at their place of work?
No. Flu vaccinations must be administered to care home and domiciliary care workers at the community pharmacy premises. There is no provision within the service specification to vaccinate care home and domiciliary care workers at their place of work.

Community pharmacies can continue to vaccinate patients in care homes by following the outlined process in the service specification.

Q. If a person presenting is a care home and domiciliary care worker but is also eligible to receive the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service at the community pharmacy because they are part of an ‘at risk’ group, under which risk category should they be recorded?
The person presenting should be recorded under their ‘at risk’ group for their eligibility for the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service.

Q. Are health and social care staff working in sheltered housing accommodation, for example, warden controlled flats, eligible to receive the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service?
No. Sheltered housing providers are not regulated by the Care Quality Commission and are therefore not required to be registered, so their staff do not fall within the definition set out in the revised service specification and PGD. However, if a registered domiciliary care provider has staff that attend sheltered housing accommodation to support patients, then these staff will be eligible for vaccination.

Q. Are health and social care staff working in extra-care housing (also called assisted living) eligible to receive the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service?
Yes. Unlike sheltered housing, extra care housing is regulated by the Care Quality Commission. Therefore, these staff do fall in the definition outlined by the service if they are directly involved with the care of the patient.

Extra-care housing (also called assisted living) offers more support than sheltered housing, but still allows clients to live independently. Clients live in a self-contained flat, with their own front door, but meals may be provided. Personal care and support services are generally available on-site 24 hours a day. Some extra care housing is available to buy or rent privately and some is available from the local council following a needs assessment. This type of housing isn’t available in all areas.

Q. Are community pharmacies able to vaccinate eligible care home and domiciliary care workers who work with children?
Yes if the children they work with are already considered to be part of an ‘at risk’ group. Any health and social care staff (aged 18 years and over) employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients including children who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza, because they fall into a clinical risk group listed in Appendix A of the Patient Group Direction, are eligible to be vaccinated.

Q. Are all workers working within registered care home and domiciliary care organisations eligible to receive the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service?
No. Only those workers directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients are eligible. A worker that has no direct contact with a patient/client is not eligible. For example, a member of catering staff that serves food to patient/clients would not be considered eligible.

Q. Does the care home and domiciliary care worker need to provide evidence that they work within a relevant organisation?
Yes. A care home and domiciliary care worker to be vaccinated under the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service should present evidence that they are eligible – they’ll have been told by their employer to bring some evidence with them. The types of appropriate evidence accepted could be an ID badge or payslip from their place of work. A letter on the employer’s letterhead would also be acceptable evidence. As with all patients who present for a vaccination, it’s up to the pharmacy to decide if they are satisfied that the patient is eligible under the advanced service.

PSNC has provided a template that pharmacies can give to local care provider organisations for them to add to their letterhead and provide to staff.

More FAQs on flu can be viewed at psnc.org.uk/flufaqs



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