Jacqui Perfect, an experienced practice manager and member of our GP Support team, shares her top tips for the flu vaccination season.
It’s that time of year again when the practice needs to get the flu campaign up and running. To help you achieve the best results for your practices, we’ve drafted these top tips. Some of you may have already adopted these, but for those of you new to this campaign, we hope you find the information useful.
We recognise that reaching target (75% for patients 65 and over for 2019) is becoming more difficult each year.
1. Engage the whole practice team
As part of the DES specification, you will have nominated a ‘flu lead’, but this campaign is a wonderful opportunity to involve the whole practice team, getting everyone to play an active part. This helps ensure that all eligible patients are offered the vaccine and that patients are further educated on the importance of being vaccinated. It will also share the load of delivering the service whilst consolidating a collaborative team achievement.
- Ensure that receptionists are familiar with who should be offered the vaccine and why.
- Impart the importance of recording the details on the clinical system – provide the team with the correct codes, including coding for vaccines administered elsewhere or dissent codes for those who do not wish to have it.
- Have flu achievement updates as a standard agenda item on the regular team meetings and/or send weekly emails showing the figures.
- Provide lots of encouragement to the team on their uptake achievements.
Recording this information early on avoids time being wasted chasing patients who have had it elsewhere or who have dissented from having the vaccine.
2. Market the campaign
You should have received your flu packs. Items such as banners and posters can be displayed outside the practice (railings/gates/walls) as well as inside and on windows too.
Don’t forget to utilise the inside of the patient loo to reach a captive audience!
Include flu messages on your:
- Jayex boards
- TV screens
- Twitter / Facebook
- Telephone message
- Right hand side of prescription
- Text messages
- Practice health champions/volunteers to promote the importance of being vaccinated.
Ensure that any designated ‘open flu clinics’ are offered on a selection of days and times to provide the best access for patients, eg, weekends and evenings. Make sure to incorporate this information in your marketing materials.
3. Start early
Start vaccinating patients as soon as practicable. Aim to complete immunisation of all eligible patients before flu starts to circulate and ideally by end of November.
Run your searches to identify lists of:
- All eligible patients.
- Housebound patients who will require a visit so that you can gauge numbers and staffing accordingly.
- Patients who went elsewhere to have their flu vaccines last year.
- The most difficult cohorts to reach – these could be the newer ‘at risk’ groups who have not previously had the vaccine.
By contacting the patients in the last two bullet points first and encouraging them to attend, you will use less time and resources inviting patients who attend each year regardless of invitation. Continuously assess uptake and plan how to direct resources for the remainder of the campaign.
4. Record the information – make it easier for the team
- Ensure that templates on your clinical system have been set up and require minimum keystrokes for staff to record the information, including vaccine batch numbers, expiry dates, site of the vaccine (eg, left or right arm), manufacturer (your system provider should be able to help with this).
- Provide laminated flow charts in clinical rooms detailing eligibility and the relevant vaccines to administer.
- Enable clinical system pop-ups or major alerts for eligible patients.
- Ensure that information received from pharmacies who have vaccinated your patients is received and recorded in a timely manner. If this involves data capture via Sonar Informatics, check that you are registered with them to view this information. Email email@example.com for further information.
5. Undertake effective stock management and storage
- Monitor stock levels and identify a lead (and deputy) for this.
- Everyone involved in the administration and giving of vaccines should be familiar with the cold chain in relation to the storage of vaccines. The safety of vaccines is an issue raised frequently by the CQC.
6. Use the available resources
- NHS England letter sent to practices in March 2019
- Flowchart for vaccinating staff (provided by Wessex LMCs)
- PGD for patients aged 2 – 18 years in the national influenza programme
- Public Health England slides for the practice team
- The Influenza and Pneumococcal Direct Enhanced Service (DES) specification
- Vaccination of GP Staff
- Patient Group Direction (PGD) for individuals included in the national influenza programme.
Last updated : 23 Oct 2019