Some Scottish pharmacies may not be included in flu drive

Some health boards in Scotland may decide not to involve community pharmacies in the provision of NHS flu vaccinations, a Community Pharmacy Scotland spokesperson has said.

With Scottish community pharmacies eligible to offer NHS flu vaccinations for the first time under new emergency legislation, CPS director of operations Matt Barclay said yesterday in a video update for contractors that individual health boards will decide whether and how to engage potential providers including community pharmacies, depending on local need. The service has traditionally been led by GP surgeries in Scotland.

Furthermore, pharmacies in a given region may be contracted to offer the full service or certain aspects of it, such as vaccinating health and care professionals.

“There will be variation across the piece in terms of how pharmacy is engaged in this service,” he said.

Mr Barclay said a remuneration package had been agreed with the Scottish Government and will be announced imminently, along with guidance on how to provide the service.

He said CPS was in talks around aspects of the service such as how pharmacies that provide private flu jabs can be reimbursed on the NHS for using their own supplies, adding that efforts were underway at a national level to ensure “that there will be vaccine available through wholesale channels for community pharmacies which they should be able to access for NHS purposes”.

PPE “should be supplied via the NHS as well,” he said, encouraging pharmacies to consider how they can make arrangements to provide the service given the challenges Covid-19 will pose.

Mr Barclay said there was a “real sense of the primary care team coming together” to meet the high demand for flu vaccination that is expected this winter, and suggested that pharmacies “may well be involved” in any potential Covid-19 vaccination drive.

It is unclear as yet which of Scotland's 14 NHS health boards will involve community pharmacies in their flu jab service or in what capacity. Individual health boards have been approached for comment.

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