Flu Vaccination Advanced Service 2020/21: Update for contractors

Flu Vaccination Advanced Service 2020/21: Update for contractors

August 25, 2020

Update 28th August 2020: Please see Flu vac: service spec published and new flexibilities agreed

Discussions on the flu vaccination service for 2020/21 began many months ago, but the service specification for the community pharmacy service is still going through the final stages of NHS England & NHS Improvement’s (NHSE&I) internal approval process.

At this stage, contractors are advised that we still expect the service specification and the national Patient Group Direction to be published by the Bank Holiday weekend, ready for the service to commence next Tuesday.

There is (and has been for many months) considerable urgency both at PSNC and NHSE&I regarding the service, and we have underlined to NHSE&I the critical importance of this service being up and running from the beginning of the vaccination season.

PSNC’s key negotiation points for this season are:

  • Funding: PSNC has put a business case to NHSE&I outlining the need for an uplift to service fees this year, recognising the extra costs of providing the service safely in a pandemic.
  • Consent: As with the provision of any pharmacy service, the patient must consent to being vaccinated. PSNC has proposed moving from signed consent to a verbal consent model.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: New PHE guidance on the personal protective equipment (PPE) to use when vaccinating was issued at the end of last week and PSNC is seeking funding to cover contractors’ PPE costs as part of wider negotiations on COVID-related funding.
  • Flexibility in delivery models: We have sought flexibilities in the way contractors can provide the service, to make it easier for pharmacies to undertake significant numbers of vaccinations this year, including provision in the pharmacy (outside the consultation room but elsewhere within the premises); off-site provision within the vicinity of the pharmacy;  and provision for vaccinating staff in care homes and domiciliary (housebound) patients.

Final details of all of these will be included in the service specification and accompanying documents when they are published.

Alastair Buxton, PSNC Director of NHS Services said:

“It is frustrating that, once again, the publication of the service specification for the community pharmacy Flu Vaccination Advanced Service has been delayed until we are so close to the launch of the service. This is particularly unhelpful in the context of COVID-19, which brings with it additional safety and logistical challenges for pharmacies.

PSNC is continuing to urge NHSE&I to finalise and publish details of the service as soon as possible so that this critical service – which the NHS says is more important than ever given the COVID-19 pandemic – can begin on time next week.”


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