GPs miss out on funding as data reveal pharmacies delivered 1m flu jabs last year

Community pharmacies delivered 60% more flu vaccinations in 2016/17 compared with the year before, and received payments worth over £8.6m for delivering the service across the season, official data show.

The increase means that GPs missed out on providing more than 350,000 additional flu vaccines that they could have provided in previous years.

Data from NHS Digital shows that in 2015/16, the year pharmacies could first provide the vaccine, they administered it to 595,467 people.

During the 2016/17 season, this grew up to just short of 1m patients – some 950,765. They were paid a total of over £8.6m in fees for providing the service.

This means practices missed out on funding potentially worth up to £9.3m, as they are paid £9.80 per dose given under the influenza vaccine DES, while pharmacists are paid £7.64 plus a £1.50 fees per dose, a total of £9.14.

Influenza vaccine

GP leaders have warned that allowing pharmacies to deliver the service has wreaked havoc with GP planning, as it becomes increasingly difficult to predict how many vaccines they will actually need.

A GPonline poll found that over two fifths of practices were left with unused stocks of the vaccine at the end of the 2016/17 season – and more than half of these said the amount left over was greater than the preceding year.

GPs reported at the time that they were still reeling from the decision to open the service up to pharmacies, which one had said had had ‘profound’ consequences.

Several respondents reported that local pharmacies received their stocks of the vaccine earlier than practices, leaving them powerless to stop them poaching patients.

The statistics also show that over 1,200 additional pharmacies started providing the flu vaccine over the year before, meaning 72% of pharmacies in the country now offer the service.

Read more: Adjuvanted vaccine could improve flu protection and slash GP workload

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

COVID-19 vaccination programme widens to over-70s and clinically vulnerable

COVID-19 vaccination programme widens to over-70s and clinically vulnerable

People aged over 70 and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be offered...

Hoarse voice - red flag symptoms

Hoarse voice - red flag symptoms

Dr Suneeta Kochhar provides an overview into the red flag symptoms to look for in...

Epistaxis - red flag symptoms

Epistaxis - red flag symptoms

Dr Suneeta Kochhar provides an overview of red flag symptoms to look for in a patient...

Former Brexit secretary backs vitamin D supplements to beat COVID-19

Former Brexit secretary backs vitamin D supplements to beat COVID-19

The NHS should provide 10 times the current daily recommended amount of vitamin D...

Identifying patients experiencing domestic violence and abuse in general practice

Identifying patients experiencing domestic violence and abuse in general practice

Dr Vasumathy Sivarajasingam describes a pilot project in her practice that used a...