Success for pharmacy at the NHS Flu Fighter Awards (April 2017)

Published on: 5th April 2017 | Updated on: 28th March 2022

Community pharmacy representatives have won the NHS Flu Fighter Carers Award for the third year running since the award was created in 2015.

This year, the London Pharmacy Reaching Carers’ team was the winner at the NHS Flu Fighter Awards ceremony on 27th March. Pharmacy teams in London got behind the campaign, which was led by Rekha Shah from Pharmacy London, Kenny Gibson, Head of Public Health Commissioning at NHS England, and Julia Ellis, Consultant in Carer Identification, and pharmacy teams vaccinated approximately 9,300 carers – a 61% increase from last year’s figure.

Tesco Pharmacy was also shortlisted for the Flu Fighter Carers’ Award and Allisons Chemist was shortlisted for the Flu Fighter+ Award.

How did the London Pharmacy Reaching Carers campaign start?

The success of the Carer Friendly Pharmacy Pilot led Kenny Gibson to contact Julia Ellis to collaborate on a project to improve carers’ flu vaccination rates in community pharmacies in London.

Guidance and resources for pharmacy teams were produced to help them better communicate with carers. Resources included flyers on how carers should get vaccinated, suggested wording for opportunistically offering unpaid carers a flu vaccine in a pharmacy and offering carers a flu vaccine if they were in an at-risk group. Community pharmacy teams really got behind the campaign and saw a dramatic rise in the number of carers vaccinated.

The team also liaised with carers’ leads and various organisations in London to set up the London Carer Referrals Network to link up carers with their local carers’ centres for a free information pack and/or to request a phone call. An IT referrals system was set up by Sonar Informatics to enable carers’ centres to receive referrals from community pharmacies. Once a carer was identified for a flu vaccine, an automatic referral was then sent (with the carer’s consent) to the carers’ centre. The staff at the carers’ centre would then access the referral system to action the referral.

Rekha Shah, Chief Executive of Pharmacy London said:

“Offering carers a flu vaccination also gives community pharmacy staff the opportunity to let carers know about the wider range of services available to them, both from the pharmacy itself as well as the services offered by carers’ organisations and their GP practices. The London Pharmacy Reaching Carers initiative last year also offered referral to their local carers’ centre and through the reporting mechanism for the Flu Vaccination service, enabled GP practices to register their patients, where appropriate, as having the role of caring for someone.

Pharmacy teams reported that the various resources made available were found to be really useful and that they felt extremely motivated to target people who were potentially carers. The extremely good feedback from carers in receipt of the advice and/or referrals helped to further motivate our front line teams in London. This award, in recognition of what they achieved will, no doubt, fuel their efforts next year.”

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