The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) are urging GPs and pharmacists to work together this winter to deliver the expanded flu programme.
The bodies have agreed a list of principles and recommendations for healthcare staff, to ensure those who need a flu vaccination this season are able to get one.
The list outlines a collaborative approach, which the bodies say is crucial for putting patient care first and ensuring possible competition between healthcare providers does ‘not impact negatively on GP or pharmacy practice’ or lead to ‘unnecessary tensions’.
‘Healthcare professionals providing flu vaccination should focus on person-centred care and act in a professional manner towards each other. They must not issue any information that unfairly or inaccurately represents the service provided by other commissioned providers,’ the bodies said.
RPS and RCGP also recommended that the NHS establish information systems nationally that allow pharmacists and GPs to share data and help prevent any duplication of vaccinations.
‘These systems should not increase the workload for healthcare professionals or their staff,’ they added.
Sandra Gidley, RPS president said: ‘With winter pressures and Covid-19, this year it’s more important than ever that pharmacists and GPs work together so everyone who needs a flu vaccination can get one.
‘This needs to be supported by adequate resources, the right information systems, and ensuring staff can work safely.’
Dr Jonathan Leach, RCGP joint honorary secretary, added: ‘As we continue to manage the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s vital that we protect as many people as possible from the flu, particularly those in at-risk groups, such as older people, pregnant women and patients with long-term conditions and learning difficulties, and reduce the pressures on the health system.
‘General practice and community pharmacy sit at the heart of communities. By working together across primary care, we can ensure that vulnerable individuals are able to access the protection which the flu vaccine affords.’
This story first appeared on our sister title the Pharmacist.