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GPs should opportunistically offer flu vaccine to at-risk groups, recommends NICE

GPs should use all face-to-face contacts as an opportunity to offer the flu vaccination to patients in at-risk groups, according to draft NICE guidelines on increasing flu vaccination uptake.

The guidelines, due for publication in January 2018, recommend that GPs should opportunistically educate eligible patients about the benefits of the vaccination, and offer it to them, whenever they present in primary care.

According to the guidelines, GPs should use ‘every opportunity throughout the flu season’ to offer the vaccination to eligible patients, and provide multiple routes for patients to access it, including out of hours options’.

The guidelines say: ‘The committee believed strongly that reminders should be proactive. Not all people who are eligible for free flu vaccination will visit their GP surgery regularly, so it is not sufficient to rely on posters in waiting rooms to remind them.’

Eligible patient groups who the guidelines target include those with chronic respiratory, heart or liver disease, those with diabetes, young children and the elderly, pregnant women and those who receive a carer’s allowance.

NICE recommends that invitations for vaccination should be tailored to the circumstances of the individual patients and should include information on the risks of not being vaccinated.

There is also a push in the guidelines towards increasing vaccination uptake among healthcare professionals, suggesting use of mobile services and extended on-site clinic hours to improve access and publishing uptake rates.

The guidelines come as figures suggest that vaccination uptake has improved in the last flu season, despite overall uptake in at-risk groups still being below PHE targets.

Readers' comments (6)

  • X.Ray

    Gosh..........

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  • I think I'm down to about 2 mins for patient's agenda, 2 mins for my agenda, 1 min to write up for the laywers and 5 mins for the agenda of everyone else who wants to stick their oar in.

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  • Do we really need NICE to tell us that, we do that anyway!!!!!! I guess they have nothing important to do than twiddling their fingers so they have come up with this shitty advice.

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  • (almost)GoneDoc

    I'm hoping they come up with some guidance on how to make an official NHS cup of tea, and/or coffee. Maybe they'll push the boat out and cover the whole 'hot beverage' arena with acceptable temperature charts and a sweetening flow chart. I'm sure someone there is working on it. Please get on with it.

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  • Oh, for goodness' sake!

    When they gave the contract to the pharmacists, who did them all quite aggressively, we all started doing them opportunistically wherever we could.

    I still have the laminated sign that was on my desk that said "would you like a flu jab? Please ask and we can do it today"

    That was the real way giving the contract to pharmacists increased the uptake in the last couple of seasons. Unfortunately it also demoralised us as we made such a loss on the flu jabs 2 years ago that we ordered too few last year...

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  • "Not all people who are eligible for free flu vaccination will visit their GP surgery regularly, so it is not sufficient to rely on posters in waiting rooms to remind them" - but I bet they all watch TV so how's about a public information campaign

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