2019 brought in a  new contract and the appointment of not one but two new pharmacy ministers to Brexit upheaval and proposals to introduce pharmacy apprenticeships.

Skills 4 hope 2020 will allow for stability and a true opportunity to develop our businesses, possibly starting with the introduction of PCN’s.

Pharmacies have endured draconian funding cuts and political uncertainty. Our industry must now be allowed to concentrate on transforming into the service-first model that Matt Hancock has referred to and the Government has pursued.

The people of the United Kingdom have spoken and voted in a new government and last month’s election result means that Britain will exit the EU at some point this year. This does however allow pharmacies to plan for how to deal with the impact Brexit could have on business.

Pharmacist Apprenticeship plans are being considered by key stakeholders and here at Skills4 we will ensure that a balanced argument is provided on behalf of all parties. Skills4 will monitor the progress of the proposals and keep all parties up to date and informed on our website. The introduction of this apprenticeship could have very exciting consequences for our industry.

Finally, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) has issued a letter to provide advice on ordering appropriate flu vaccines for the 2020/21 season. This follows a review of the latest evidence on influenza vaccines conducted by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. The letter states that the following vaccinations should be offered:

  • Patient’s aged 65 and over
    • Patients aged 65 years and over should be offered the adjuvanted trivalent vaccine (aTIV).
    • The quadrivalent influenza cell-culture vaccine (QIVc) is also suitable for use in this age group, if aTIV is not available.
    • Please note, while the high-dose trivalent vaccine (TIV-HD) is also a recommended vaccine for this age group, this vaccine has a significantly higher list price for 2020/21. This vaccine will therefore not be commissioned and will not be reimbursed by NHSE&I in 2020/21 – community pharmacy contractors should not order this vaccine to use for the community pharmacy NHS Flu Vaccination Service.
  • Patients aged 18 years to under 65 years in an at-risk group
    • Contractors should consider the use of QIVc in the first instance for at-risk adults aged less than 65 years (including pregnant women).
    • Quadrivalent influenza egg-culture vaccine (QIVe) should also be considered as an alternative to QIVc, subject to the JCVI considerations outlined in the NHSE&I letter.

Community pharmacy contractors are advised to begin ordering licensed vaccines as set out in communications received. The ordering of these licensed vaccines should not be unnecessarily delayed.