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Pharmacists may offer NHS travel vaccines alongside GPs

Pharmacists may start to offer an NHS travel vaccination service from March 2021, under plans proposed in the latest community pharmacy contractual framework.

The proposal would see pharmacies able to offer NHS travel vaccinations including polio, typhoid, hepatitis A and cholera.

This will be in addition to all GP practices being required to offer NHS travel vaccinations to their registered eligible population as part of the new GP contract for 2020/21.

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland LMC medical secretary Dr Anu Rao, a member of the BMA’s GP Committee, said: ‘I think it is a good step forward. The more choice for patients to go to different providers such as pharmacies would make better sense for patients.

‘I think for practices, it will make them think about their workloads and how they signpost patients either by setting up a hub within a PCN, or collaborating with a pharmacy.’

Under the new GP contract, travel vaccines will be an essential service rather than an additional service for practices.

GPs have welcomed the inclusion into the core contract.

Dr Rao said: ‘I think there was a lot of confusion about travel vaccines, which are paid, which are not, which are core, and the contract makes it a bit clearer so that helps.’

The cost of the NHS travel vaccines will continue to be covered by money assigned to the additional service for immunisations and vaccinations. For 2020/21 this is worth £164.5m.