Update on new flexible approaches to flu vaccination service

Update on new flexible approaches to flu vaccination service

August 7, 2020

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

An update on the new flexible approaches being considered for support the provision of the flu vaccination service has been released.

Contractors must note that the changes PSNC is seeking to the flu vaccination service, described in the update, have not yet been agreed and may never be agreed.

On 3rd July 2020, PSNC published a Briefing for contractors which provided early guidance on the 2020/21 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service. The Briefing highlighted the potential increased flexibility and wider approaches to the provision of the service that PSNC was seeking to agree with NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

These approaches aimed to provide additional opportunities for the community pharmacy flu vaccination service to be provided in places other than the pharmacy consultation room.

We are in the process of confirming with NHSE&I and DHSC the introduction of the following flexibilities and approaches into the 2020/21 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service:

  • Vaccination in the pharmacy, 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 or community halls;
    • Church halls, temples or mosques;
    • Carparks; and
    • Sports halls / Stadiums.
  • Care homes: The vaccination of care home staff at their place of work has been confirmed in the recent flu letter.

The existing flexibility which allows vaccination of patients in their own homes will continue.

Work is ongoing to facilitate pharmacies to focus solely on the provision of flu vaccinations during a proportion of their opening hours. An update on this will be provided if and when these flexibilities become available. Consideration is also being given to the ability of contractors to provide flu vaccination outside of their normal contracted opening hours.

In addition to the above flexibilities, we are hopeful that this year’s Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service will see the removal of the need to:

  • submit a completed copy of the Notification of intent to provide off-site NHS flu vaccinations to the regional NHSE&I team before vaccinating patients in their own home or a care home; and
  • have notified the patient’s general practice in advance of vaccination when providing flu vaccinations at a care home.

We are expecting the signed consent record to no longer be mandatory, so contractors can look to adopt in the main a verbal consent model, with the patient’s consent being noted in the clinical record.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PHE has recently published the following document which includes guidance on PPE use when vaccinating patients during the pandemic:

Clinical guidance for healthcare professionals on maintaining immunisation programmes during COVID-19

The current guidance on PPE can be found on page 6 of the document and it states:

The recommended PPE for administering all vaccines, is gloves, apron, fluid resistant (type IIR) surgical mask and eye protection.

Gloves and aprons are single use. Between vaccination of individuals they should be disposed of and hand hygiene performed. Fluid resistant (type IIR) surgical facemasks and eye protection can be subject to single session use, as outlined in the guidance linked below. Re-usable eye and face protection is acceptable if decontaminated between single or single sessional use, according to the manufacturer’s instructions or local infection control policy.

The procurement route for PPE and reimbursement of the costs are still being discussed, and an update will be provided as soon as possible.

Further details

Negotiations are still ongoing, so the above must NOT be taken as the definitive position and is being provided as a guide to help contractors prepare. The Service Specification, the Patient Group Direction, and the Directions will provide the final requirements and will be published as soon as possible.

If having read this you have further queries about the Flu Vaccination Service, or you require more information, please contact the PSNC Services Team.

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