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Nationally agreed payments for pharmacists should have been in place for pandemic flu service provision

Pharmacists should have been provided with a national fee framework for delivering the pandemic influenza service, said Kevin Noble of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Pharmaceutical Committee at an All-Party Pharmacy Group briefing on swine flu this week (3 February 2010)

By News team

Pharmacists should have been provided with a national fee framework for delivering the pandemic influenza service, said Kevin Noble of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Pharmaceutical Committee at an All-Party Pharmacy Group briefing on swine flu this week (3 February 2010).

In a discussion of the pandemic protocols that were put in place and the level of Government support provided, Mr Noble said that nationally agreed fees would have saved a lot of local negotiation, and prevented the variation in fees that arose from discussions being devolved down to a local level. Pharmacists would have benefited from earlier guidance, setting out clear plans and end objectives and designating responsibility for antiviral collection points from the outset, he said.

Barbara Parsons, head of pharmacy practice at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, said that primary care trusts were made responsible for delivery of the pandemic flu service despite requests from the PSNC for a national negotiation of fees. However, Wales did manage to agree a national fee, she pointed out.

Mr Noble also argued that antiviral stocks could have been allocated more appropriately, and a build-up of supplies in some areas avoided, if pharmacists had been allowed to manage and order stock in accordance with their normal practice. “Pharmacists are used to managing medicines as part of their daily work. Maybe the solution to the complex stock reporting systems would have been to allow pharmacists to do what they do on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

He concluded that although the impact of the pandemic on pharmacy workload was significant, pharmacists could have been better used.

“Pharmacies are ideally placed … for opportunistic service provision. That may include assessment and vaccination,” he suggested.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10994890

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