A new national contract has been agreed, under which pharmacists across the country can provide protection on the NHS to patients considered most at risk from flu.
Those eligible for the jab are:
- People aged 65 and over
- All adults with a serious existing health complication, such as diabetes, heart disease or breathing difficulties
- Pregnant women
- Any carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill
Some Derbyshire pharmacists have offered flu jabs in the run-up to previous winters, either as a private paid-for service or through local agreements. However, this is the first time the NHS has involved them on such a scale – significantly increasing patient choice.
Two thirds of all pharmacy contractors in Derby and Derbyshire (146 out of 217) have registered to provide the service, which requires them to have undergone special training and to have a private room for administering the flu vaccine.
Pharmacist Nitin Lakhani of Jaysons Pharmacy in Long Eaton said: “Pharmacies offer a convenient alternative to GP surgeries, where flu vaccines have traditionally been given, mainly because we’re open six days a week. Patients can ring ahead to make an appointment or just drop in at a time that suits them.
“We are fully trained in giving the jabs and the service not only means a more convenient alternative to patients but also takes pressure off busy GP surgeries.”
The aim is to ensure an increase in the overall protection the community by extending the uptake of vaccinations by people who have missed out in other years. The new national contract reflects the increasing importance assigned to the role of pharmacists in helping people to stay well, especially during winter months.
John Sargeant, Chair of Community Pharmacy Derbyshire, which represents all the county’s pharmacists, added: “Vaccinations are vital to protect people for whom seasonal flu is a real danger. Pharmacists are well placed to undertake this work. It’s another example of how essential community pharmacy is to the health of our population.”
Any patients unsure about whether they qualify for an NHS flu jab or with any other queries are being encouraged to ask their local pharmacist, who will be happy to help.
Full details of Derbyshire pharmacists providing flu vaccinations under the new national NHS contract can be found through an interactive map, allowing people to zoom in on their area to identify the pharmacy most convenient for them.
View the Map