Flu vac: Frontline primary care staff added to Advanced service

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) have today announced that they have secured additional funding to support provision of flu vaccinations to frontline primary care staff during the 2021/22 flu season.

This follows repeated requests from PSNC, made over several years, for pharmacy staff to be included as a cohort for vaccination in the NHS Flu Vaccination Service. Following these requests, earlier this year, NHSE&I successfully sought additional funding, with an agreement on a change to the service being reached with PSNC last month.

Frontline staff employed by primary care contractors (community pharmacies, primary medical services, primary dental services and general ophthalmic services) will now be able to have a flu vaccination under the pharmacy and general practice flu services in the 2021/22 season. Non-clinical staff employed by primary care contractors who are directly involved with the provision of NHS services on a day-to-day basis and who have face-to-face contact with patients will also be eligible for vaccination.

Read the NHSE&I announcement

The change means that contractors will be able to vaccinate their frontline (patient-facing) staff in the coming weeks under the Advanced service.

Where pharmacy contractors have already vaccinated their staff via other means, NHSE&I has agreed that they can claim for these vaccinations via their Advanced service claim on the NHSBSA’s Manage Your Service portal. A separate clinical record for these vaccinations will already have been made at the time they were administered; a duplicate record should not be created in the Advanced service IT system. Where an API from the Advanced service IT system automatically submits flu vaccination data to MYS, contractors will need to manually amend their claim in MYS to include the staff vaccinations previously administered, prior to submitting the claim for payment.

The ‘Frontline health and social care staff’ cohort in the service specification has been expanded to specifically include patient-facing staff of primary care contractors, including any locums.

Read the revised service specification

An updated patient group direction (PGD) and national protocol will be published shortly; until the updated PGD and national protocol are published, contractors will not be able to provide the service to frontline primary care staff. PSNC will inform contractors when the updated PGD and national protocol have been published.

Data collection requirements

Contractors will need to keep a manual record of the number of primary care staff they vaccinate in the service (in addition to their normal clinical records for the service). This data should separately count the number of staff vaccinated from each of the four contractor groups, with it being reported each month on the NHSBSA’s Manage Your Service (MYS) platform in a new module, which will be linked to from the main MYS flu vaccination module.

Given the timing of the agreement to fund these vaccinations, it was too late for the main MYS flu vaccination module to be amended to include this data capture.

PSNC has published a tally chart for contractors to use to keep a manual count of the number of staff from each primary care setting they have vaccinated each month.

Clinical records for this group of patients vaccinated under the Advanced service should be kept as usual, with claims for the vaccinations administered being recorded under the ‘Frontline health and social care staff’ category in the main MYS flu vaccination module (the separate manual data collection is just for evaluation purposes and this data will not affect the claim for payment).

Commenting on the NHSE&I announcement, Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at PSNC said:

“This is really welcome news for pharmacy contractors and their teams, and it is right that after such a challenging time during the height of the pandemic and ahead of what is expected to be a tough winter, the NHS provides this additional support.

“For many years, we have asked NHSE&I for pharmacy team members to be eligible for vaccination under the Advanced service and we will continue to push for this to happen on an ongoing basis, to recognise their hard work and dedication in providing their patients and the local population with essential healthcare services.”

Visit the Flu Vaccination Hub page


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