COVID-19 vacs: Collaborative working between PCN and community pharmacy sites

Published on: 17th March 2021 | Updated on: 30th March 2022

In the nation’s critically important race to get as many eligible patients vaccinated against COVID-19 as possible, local collaboration and team working between all COVID-19 vaccination sites is now of the highest priority.

One good example of how community pharmacy and Primary Care Network (PCN) vaccination sites can cooperate effectively comes from Bishop Auckland in County Durham.

Peter Horrocks and team members from Knights Pharmacy (photo credit: Knights Pharmacy)

A collaborative model has been developed between the pharmacy site, which is part of the Knights Pharmacy group, and the general practices in Bishop Auckland that are running the PCN vaccination site.

The team-working commenced from the point the pharmacy site was selected by NHS England and NHS Improvement, with the regional team organising a call between the pharmacy and PCN leads to discuss how a collaborative approach to working could be put in place.

The agreed model involves the pharmacy splitting planned clinic days between the National Booking System (NBS) and the PCN, so the general practices can directly book some of their patients into the pharmacy site slots. The initial focus was on helping the practices maximise the number of clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) patients that could be vaccinated.

The PCN and pharmacy site have also coordinated the timings of their vaccination sessions at the weekends to try to avoid patient confusion as to which site is operating at any one time. Both these approaches have helped maximise vaccinations at both sites and avoid patients double booking appointments.

Knights Pharmacy and PCN team members working together (photo credit: Knights Pharmacy)

Peter Horrocks, Superintendent Pharmacist at Knights Pharmacy explained:

“The first week the pharmacy site was operating, the appointments all booked up quickly via the NBS, but by the second week, bookings filled up more slowly. We also found that some patients were travelling a significant distance to get vaccinated and the pharmacy team wanted to make sure local patients were also getting the chance to be vaccinated within their community.

“Once we agreed a plan with the PCN and regional team to remove some booking slots from the NBS, the practice teams very quickly filled the appointment slots with CEV patients. After two clinics were successfully run for the general practice booked patients, we agreed with the practices and the PCN to continue this approach.”


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