UPDATED 2 September 2022
For the 2022/23 flu season, target groups have once again been widened out, as they were during the pandemic.
Although initially, 50-64-year-olds not in clinical risk groups and children in secondary school were excluded, they are now included in the vaccination programme. For secondary school pupils, the focus will be on years 7, 8 and 9, with any remaining vaccine offered to years 10 and 11.
Others eligible for an NHS flu jab are:
- those aged 65 years and over
- those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
- all children aged 2 to 10 (but not 11 years or older) on 31 August 20221 (i.e. up to Year 6)
- pregnant women
- those in long-stay residential care homes
- close contacts of immunocompromised individuals.
There is around £10,000 of income available for the average practice of 5,000 patients if they meet the target for inviting 100% of their eligible patients for a flu vaccination.
So, how can practices effectively maximise that income? Dr John Allingham, a GP in Leeds, shares some helpful tips:
- Run conveyor-belt clinics which will get people through fast and early, which should help some practices get people vaccinated before the local pharmacies.
- Keep on top of any address and phone number changes.
- Book patients in directly to clinics by phoning those in the target groups.
- Many eligible patients will also be on repeat prescriptions. Use this as an opportunity to remind patients about vaccinations by leaving messages on the right-hand side of the prescription.
- Put up posters in the practice waiting room from August onwards.
- Change the greeting message on the practice phone to include a reminder.
- Put an advert in a local paper. This may be more cost effective if local practices joined together and split the cost.
- Take the vaccine on home visits to known target patients, but remember to phone ahead beforehand.
- Remember the less obvious groups. Good coding for pregnant women and cooperation with midwives helps. Also make sure under-18s who are at-risk are also coded. Occupational coding for healthcare workers in the target groups might also be helpful.
- Match appointments to vaccine availability and try to use it as fast as possible, both to beat the pharmacists and clear space in the fridge.
- Remember to code those refusing the vaccine, as this helps with QOF targets and further boosts practice income.
Last flu season, practices maintained a record level of flu vaccination uptake among over-65s, despite low uptake among pregnant women, according to data gathered from general practices in England.
Access the 2022/23 Enhanced Service Specification for the flu vaccine programme, which also sets out the full list of eligible cohorts here.
A version of this story was previously published in Pulse Intelligence. See the full article here.
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