The service, which is the first of its kind, has been commissioned by NHS England (London Region), and has been developed with Local Pharmaceutical Committees in London. The service will provide NHS flu vaccinations, free of charge to those patients that should be vaccinated.
Over 1100 community pharmacies across London are providing the service, complementing the existing service provided by GP practices. The service will make it easier for patients and residents, including those not registered with a GP, who are at greater risk of further complications as a result of flu, to access the free service from any participating pharmacy in London whether it’s near their place of work, where they shop or where they live. The service is also available to all NHS frontline health staff to protect them against flu, so they can continue to support London’s vulnerable patient population this winter.
The launch of this new community pharmacy initiative in London demonstrates the important role community pharmacy plays in providing patients increased access, choice and convenience to valuable health care services, via pharmacy’s convenient locations, extended opening hours, often for 7 days a week without an appointment.
Sanjay Patel, spokesperson for the Local Pharmaceutical Committees in London; “We know that patients and the public in general value their pharmacies hugely as they provide communities with accessible, available and affordable healthcare. Through this community pharmacy initiative we hope to support the work being done to reduce pressures on A&E departments and help the NHS help vulnerable people, with underlying medical conditions stay healthy this winter. We believe that we can make a real difference to support NHS England to increase the number of patients in the at-risk groups that are vaccinated and demonstrate the value community pharmacies can bring to the NHS and patients.”
Kenny Gibson, Head of Early Years, Immunisations & Military Health, NHS England (London Region), comments; “All our patient engagement events during the past few years demonstrated Londoners and people who work in London wanted to access more services from their community pharmacies. Seasonal flu can cause great distress to many people living and working in London and it is hoped this scheme increases the uptake of seasonal flu vaccination. As well as increased immunising, this programme ensures all the patient clinical data is securely and confidentially transferred to relevant GPs within a few days. We will review the service regularly and assess whether this model of delivering immunisations and public health might be a model we wish to develop further. Community Pharmacies are successfully delivering NHS Health Checks, Sexual Health and Smoking Cessation and Seasonal Flu is an important additional to the service model.”
The seasonal flu service is available now at selected pharmacies across London. Please see www.myhealth.london.nhs.uk for the list of participating pharmacies.