Tony O’Reilly, country manager at LloydsPharmacy, says that Scottish pharmacies are ready to help protect patients from flu this winter.
Last year in Scotland, thousands of people were hit by flu. Not only is it unpleasant and stressful for patients, but it can be very dangerous, particularly for at risk groups, such as over 65s and people with pre-existing conditions. It also leads to increased costs for the wider health service and can even have a knock-on effect for employers and businesses. That’s why getting vaccinated is really important.
This year, I’m excited that our pharmacies in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area are participating in a community pharmacy pilot scheme to administer NHS flu jabs. This is one of the first times that pharmacies in Scotland have been asked to contribute to the NHS vaccination programme and we’re seeing it as a great opportunity.
The NHS flu vaccination service in England was established in 2017 and has been a huge success. Last year over 1.4m people chose to get their vaccination at their local pharmacy and the general public now see community pharmacy as the go-to place to help them stay well during winter. Piloting this approach in the Glasgow area allows us to demonstrate the role that pharmacists can play in fighting flu. My teams and I are looking forward to seeing how many people we can help, so that we can provide positive, valuable feedback to the health board as part of their review.
The trust and reputation that our pharmacists have within the communities they serve, means they can reach even more people that wouldn’t otherwise get their jab. They can talk to patients about the importance of protecting themselves against flu and invite them to get their vaccination at LloydsPharmacy if they haven’t already done so.
Not only that, but pharmacy teams can advise patients on other health and wellbeing issues, as well as talking them through what OTC products are available to help them better manage their health.
As community pharmacy looks to evolve new services like the provision of NHS vaccinations will be key to ensuring the profession is recognised as a truly integrated partner of the NHS. I can’t wait to see how much of a positive impact our teams can have. Watch this space.