We are about to embark on the biggest flu vaccination season in living memory. Indeed, alongside Covid-19 – encompassing first, second & booster jabs – this autumn might usher in the biggest vaccination effort in UK history.
Given the success of the Covid rollout, there have been many learnings and much speculation as to what this means for future inoculations and, although still a moving target, it seems clear that the 2021/22 flu season will see increased pressure once again on our PCNs.
Announced changes in funding mechanisms show that surgery-level QOF indicators have been removed, with an increased scope for the IIF indicators awarded at PCN-level. This aligns with the NHS Long-Term View and the strategic drive to see PCNs bridge the gap between community settings.
At Eva, we’ve spent a lot of time analysing all the factors at play, and are keen to focus on some potential upsides with running the flu vaccine season at PCN level this year:
Control: with locally coordinated delivery, PCNs and clinical leaders can have a better understanding of the whole population they are targeting, how they are doing throughout the programme, and whether they need to scale up or down to achieve their goals as the season progresses.
Capacity: if eligibility groups are extended to more patients as in the last years (e.g. 50+ or even younger), PCNs can help balance or add capacity where practices might not have the capacity to manage on their own.
Risk-based triage: Retaining the vaccinations of patients at risk in practices (access to EHRs) or home visits, other patients in lower risk categories can be vaccinated at dedicated high-throughput pop-up vaccination clinics to deliver vaccines faster and in a way that may be more convenient for patients
Efficiency in Scale: It is highly likely that most PCNs will still be administering Covid jabs (second doses or boosters) at the same time and to similar cohorts as flu. There is a potential to administer simultaneously for increased efficiency.
Tech support fully NHS-Digital products exist that can support vaccinations at scale across settings. Our eVacc module is the only NHS-assured alternative to EMIS’s Pinnacle and is now live. Our pilot has seen 6000 vaccinations, 0 % downtime and an average of 20 seconds saved per jab.
We are currently working with PCNs to further develop and optimize our eVacc module for the combined Covid and flu season. You can learn more about this and register here.
We’d love to hear from you.