Pharmacy flu jab payments rise to £9.48 per vaccine

The payment pharmacies receive for providing the flu jab is to rise by 34p per vaccination, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has announced following talks with NHS England “to agree some key improvements” to the 2018-19 service.

The fee for the service, which is due to commence on 1 September, will increase to £7.98 per administered dose plus an additional fee of £1.50 per vaccination during the 2018-19 flu season, making the total payment £9.48, PSNC says.

Other changes include:

  • Contractors can now administer vaccinations in patients’ homes
  • Pharmacists need only undertake face-to-face training every three years (the current rules say every two years)
  • The requirement to register to offer the service with NHS BSA has been removed
  • Payment claims from pharmacies can now be made electronically via the NHS BSA webform.

The changes are outlined in the service specification and Patient Group Direction. Further details are available in a briefing published by PSNC.

Service going “from strength to strength”

PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton said the changes would help “streamline some of the processes for pharmacies” and “bring some very welcome extra income”.

Mr Buxton said the service “continues to go from strength to strength”, adding that it “is just one way in which pharmacies are helping to support their patients and the wider NHS and we were very pleased to see the clear recognition of that value in the negotiations this year.”

This is the first year in which different vaccine types are recommended for different population segments, with those under 65 receiving a quadrivalent vaccine and over 65s receiving an adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine (aTIV).

Mr Buxton said that “despite some potential logistical challenges with the vaccination for people aged 65 and over” he was confident that pharmacy teams “have another flu vaccination season ahead of them”.

PSNC will be working closely with NHS England in the coming days to finalise the information, resources and guidance for pharmacies, Mr Buxton said.

A positive sign of relationship with Government

Tricia Kennerley, a member of PSNC’s negotiating team and director of international public affairs with Walgreens Boots Alliance, said: “Although offering NHS flu vaccinations is by now a well-established community pharmacy service. Each year an enormous amount of work goes into negotiating and finalising the details with NHS England, so it is very good news that once again pharmacies can be a part of this important campaign.

"At the same time, we hope that the improvements and increased payments negotiated successfully by PSNC are a positive indication of the collaborative relationship that we are working to rebuild with the NHS and Government.

“Offering vaccinations is just one way in which pharmacies can support NHS England in meeting its objectives. When our wider negotiations begin we will be looking to build on the services already commissioned and agree more ways in which we can develop the clinical role that pharmacies can play in supporting their local communities, patients and the health service.”

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