Service case study: A partnered and co-ordinated flu season campaign with GPs (December 2016)

Published on: 20th February 2017 | Updated on: 28th March 2022

Contractors in Devon have been working as part of a collaborative approach with a group of three general practices (with a total of 33,000 registered patients) to ensure as many eligible patients receive their vaccinations as possible.

The campaign was organised between the Beacon Medical Group and Devon LPC, who have a long established working relationship following the two organisations being introduced by David Bearman, Chair of Devon LPC.

To get things started Mark Stone, Devon LPC Project Pharmacist had a joint meeting with GPs, practice managers and nurses to discuss a plan on what work needed to be done to benefit the health of the local community, and how community pharmacy could be integrated into this plan.

The aims of the meeting were to:

  • address the lack of understanding of the pharmacy scheme, the processes, governance and record keeping;
  • alleviate concerns about ‘poaching of patients’ and incorrect targeting of patients not eligible for vaccination under the NHS service;
  • address the number of issues raised from last year’s campaign; and
  • raise awareness of a new way of working, and the opportunity to work collaboratively with local practices and pharmacies to increase the uptake in the eligible patients.

During the meeting, they agreed on a collective aim of increasing the uptake of the flu vaccination service through joint efforts from the GP practice staff and local community pharmacies to achieve the World Health Organization’s aspirational target of flu vaccination coverage; something that was not achieved by the practices last year.

Devon LPC and Beacon Medical Group co-designed posters to be displayed at the practices and local community pharmacies to ensure a consistent message on the flu vaccination service was being delivered.

To ensure as many eligible patients get vaccinated as possible, the GP practices advised patients who were unable to attend their walk-in flu clinics to have their vaccination at the pharmacy instead. Pharmacy teams would also actively refer patients to the practices if they could not vaccinate a particular patient for a clinical or other reason.

Devon LPC and working with other LPCs in the South West have put together a proposal to NHS England South West to commission a fully partnered flu service which sees GP practices and pharmacies receive reimbursement to enhance vaccine uptake above a set threshold. This is currently being considered for the 2017/18 flu season.

Commenting on the proposals, Mark Stone, Devon LPC Project Pharmacist, said:

“A partnered and co-ordinated approach to a seasonal influenza vaccination programme has the potential to maximise flu vaccine uptake levels; this will allow all the people that live in the local community to receive a huge health benefit.

“Bringing providers together to best benefit patients is a journey the NHS has recently started via the national Sustainability and Transformation Plans. Taking this partnered model to flu provision will offer not only benefits to patients but to providers (pharmacies and practices) alike.”

Mark’s top tips to other LPCs who wish to implement a similar service are:

  • identify and engage with key GP practices and relevant clinicians;

  • create a collaborative aim that you want to achieve;

  • co-design communication materials to promote the initiative; and

  • ensure you communicate your message to patients in a co-ordinated, consistent manner.


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