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Flu jab remuneration to remain fixed at £9.58 this year, NHSE reveals


Flu jab remuneration to remain fixed at £9.58 this year, NHSE reveals

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has said it is “disappointed” by NHS England’s decision to freeze flu jab payments at £9.58 for another year.

NHSE published its service specifications for community pharmacies and GP practices for the coming flu vaccination season – which starts for high priority cohorts on Thursday September 1 – setting out the requirements for this year’s programme as well as the payment arrangements.

As with last year, pharmacies will receive a basic fee of £9.58 and GPs a fee of £10.06, with both able to claim back vaccine costs plus VAT. Claims must be made within three months of providing the vaccine.  

Aside from 2020-21, when pharmacies received a temporary 50p uplift via NHSE’s transition fund, there has not been an increase to the basic rate per vaccination since 2019-20. When the service launched in pharmacies in 2015, the fee stood at £9.14.

PSNC services director Alastair Buxton commented: “Pharmacy teams played a major role in the growth in vaccinations administered last year.

“In response to reports of a challenging flu season in Australia, I know pharmacy teams will be keen to repeat and build on their successes in 2022-23 to help reduce the risk to individuals and support the wider NHS winter effort.

“The committee is disappointed that yet again, the increasing costs contractors are experiencing in providing services has not been recognised by NHSE with an increase in the funding for the service.

“PSNC will continue to make the case to the NHS for increased funding for the service in future years.”

PGD expected shortly

The national patient group direction will be published “shortly,” said the PSNC, adding that as with last year, the NHS plans to allow contractors to user other health professionals such as nurses to immunise patients under a pharmacist’s supervision.

A national protocol will also soon be published. This may be used by contractors “as an alternative to the PGD where they are able to make use of the skill mix flexibilities allowed by the protocol”.

As in the previous two years, vaccinations may be undertaken in “suitable locations” outside the pharmacy such as patients’ homes or a community centre, although pharmacies are still required to have a consultation room where jabs may be carried out.

The PSNC said that NHSE had agreed with its request to relax the requirement for those providing jabs to undergo face-to-face training. Pharmacists and “other authorised vaccinators” will now only have to complete “periodic face-to-face refresher training,” in line with the requirements for doctors and nurses.

NHSE added: “The terms within this service specification may be subject to renegotiation during the flu season where significant changes to supply or distribution of vaccines occurs or where patient cohorts are changed.”

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