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Vaccination

Supermarket pharmacy delivers flu vaccines to GP patients as practices face shortages

A collaboration between an ASDA pharmacy and local GP practices is helping with the provision of flu vaccinations in Solihull.

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The collaboration to deliver flu vaccines arose as local GPs faced stock availability issues

A supermarket pharmacy in Solihull has joined up with its local primary care network (PCN) to deliver flu vaccines booked through GP practices in light of supply issues.

On one day in October 2020, the ASDA pharmacy in Chelmsley Wood administered 75 vaccinations to patients booked in through the GP practices in North Solihull Collaborative PCN.

The vaccines were administered in an NHS-liveried van parked outside the ASDA superstore.

Payment for the vaccinations will be shared, with the pharmacy claiming for delivery through PharmOutcomes, and GPs claiming for quality and outcomes framework (QOF) payments.

Organisers said that the collaboration arose as GPs in the area faced flu vaccine stock availability issues, while the pharmacy maintained sufficient supplies.

Pharmacies elsewhere have reported vaccination shortages, with Boots suspending vaccinations for under 65s as a result.

However, David Gallier-Harris, pharmacy manager at the ASDA pharmacy branch, told The Pharmaceutical Journal that his pharmacy has had “full availability of [flu] vaccines for the last month”.

“I know that there were stock availability issues for the GP practices, and we were aiming to increase the local uptake by saying ‘Look, we can help you’,” he said. “From a collaboration point of view, that’s where I started with it.”

Gallier-Harris said the van, which was funded by Birmingham and Solihull clinical commissioning group, has table space, a fridge, handwashing facilities and heating.

“The PCN arranged for the practices to message out to all their patients who haven’t had a flu jab in the over-65 cohort, and publicise the service we’re offering,” he explained.

“The vaccines are provided through ASDA and claimed for through PharmOutcomes … as if we were providing the vaccination service in-store,” he said, adding that GPs would be able to claim QOF points for referring patients to the service.

“I would hope that this sort of collaboration will continue going forward,” Gallier-Harris said, suggesting that the PCN and pharmacy “could look at collaboration for the over-50s when that cohort becomes an NHS flu vaccination cohort, and obviously COVID-19 vaccinations”.

“We’ve got an environment where we’ve got really high footfall and … where younger patients tend to be out and about,” he said. “It would be a good way of reaching those patients who don’t necessarily go to the GP as a matter of course.”

Faisal Tuddy, superintendent pharmacist at ASDA, said: “This year, more than ever, it’s important that everyone that is entitled to an NHS flu jab gets one.

“We have seen unprecedented demands for vaccination and are pleased to be working with our partners in the NHS to immunise patients in a safe and convenient manner.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20208484

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