Service case study: Sheffield LPC’s Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programme (February 2014)
Published on: 20th February 2014 | Updated on: 28th March 2022
The Community Pharmacy England Evidence Awards, which were supported by the Health Education Foundation, were held during the 2013 LPC Conference to further enhance the evidence base for locally commissioned services. From the many submissions, nine entries were shortlisted based on the evidence submitted, and LPC Conference delegates voted for the five winners from the shortlist.
Sheffield LPC was one of the winners, winning an award for their locally commissioned Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programme. James Wood, Secretary of Sheffield LPC, was interviewed after the awards to find out more about their service.
“Using well-informed arguments about why community pharmacy is different and why there is strength of multiplicity of providers,” is an important way of “banging at the door” when it comes to getting local pharmacy services commissioned, James Wood of Sheffield LPC has found. The LPC has a “let’s just do it” attitude which they have definitely put into practice over the years with the successful commissioning of several local pharmacy services, such as a ‘Not Dispensed’ Scheme and a Minor Ailments Service.
Sheffield LPC’s hard work has recently been recognised by a Community Pharmacy England Evidence Award for their Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programme for 2012/13. This service aimed firstly to improve patient access to the flu vaccine and secondly to reduce hospital admissions due to complications when vulnerable patients contract flu. The key focus groups were those who were “missing out” on flu vaccines: over 65s who had not received the flu vaccine by November 2012 and hard to reach at-risk 18 to 65 year olds.
Post-vaccination questionnaires were used to obtain key data from patients and this was how Sheffield LPC, in conjunction with the Area Team, compiled a comprehensive evidence report (see The Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programme in figures box). The biggest boost to community pharmacies in the area was that 99% of patients surveyed said the pharmacy they used for their vaccine provided a good or excellent service.
The Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programme in figures
290 patients chose to use a pharmacy for the vaccination because of convenience
20% of patients were vaccinated for the first time
93 patients would not have been vaccinated if it had not been offered by pharmacy
99% of those vaccinated considered the service provision good or excellent
237% increase in the number of vaccinations delivered by pharmacies from 2011/12 to 2012/13
573 patients vaccinated in pharmacies in 2012/13
Full evidence report available from cpe.org.uk/sheffield-lpc
It certainly helps when an LPC is “armed with evidence” which can be fed into future commissioning discussions as was seen in the business case which led to the flu service also being commissioned across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw this winter.
However, James warns that even with the right evidence LPCs should not underestimate how long negotiations can take and should “start discussions as early as possible”. In Sheffield, although the public health team had a budget in place for pharmacies providing flu vaccines, there was no budget for the reimbursement of vaccines purchased so the LPC had to have important discussions with the local CCGs to set about finding a way to re-charge back the cost of vaccines used.
Looking to the future, Sheffield LPC plans to put the Evidence Award money towards an academic evaluation of their minor ailments scheme and “getting the message out there” about all their local pharmacy services. James’ ultimate wish is for a multi-year agreement on flu vaccinations which would provide “confidence and continuity to contractors” – and, ultimately, patients.
If you would like to help get the ball rolling for this or any other services in your area, your LPC’s contact details can be found via the LPC Portal at: lpc-online.org.uk
Top tips for LPCs: How To…
Get started: Speak to the vaccination and immunisation leaders at your local area and public health teams first to gauge the level of interest. Identify “supportive key stakeholders… [to help] add credibility to it”. In particular, the director of public health and the clinical director at the CCG can be useful people to have on your side.
Communicate with local pharmacies: “this is our vision for the next couple of years – is this something you’d be interested in providing… and what sort of support would you need from us?”
Combat negativity from GPs: “have well-informed arguments about why the community pharmacy is different, why there is strength of multiplicity of providers”.
Administrate the service: Sheffield LPC advocates the use of PharmOutcomes as it means less paperwork plus commissioners have access to real-time information.
Prove success of the service: Emphasise the need for data collection as a way to “share the good story” which will help keep a service going or get it re-commissioned if needs be in the future. James also recommends that LPCs “have sight of the data and do something with it”.
Sheffield LPC’s Secretary on…
… the LPC’s role in the service
“It’s different from waiting for the green script to come to you so pharmacy teams will need support in delivering it; they need to know how you might try and sell a flu vaccine so we held an event almost on how to sell services; it was a sales guy doing it.”
“We hope to get some continuity [with provision of pharmacy services] for an extended period of time; and we need to work hard to try and highlight where things like [admin] are getting in the way.”
… the benefits of a seasonal flu vaccination programme
“An awful lot of people are missing out on flu vaccines, which was impacting on people with long-term conditions getting extended hospital stays; our service was an evolution in bringing other providers in for the flu vaccine.”