Glasgow pharmacies warned not to agree to vaccination service

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Glasgow pharmacies warned not to agree to vaccination service

Contractors in the Glasgow area have been advised to refuse any requests from a “medical support organisation” to deliver travel vaccinations from their pharmacy.

Community Pharmacy Greater Glasgow & Clyde secretary Alasdair Macintyre wrote to contractors in the NHS health board region on Friday informing them that the organisation in question – which was not named – has been awarded “at least” seven out of eight lots of a tender to deliver a travel vaccination service, despite apparently not offering vaccinations itself.

“This company is still currently actively contacting community pharmacy contractors asking them to provide this service on their behalf for approximately half of the service remuneration,” said Mr Macintyre. 

He said he was “unsure” why the health board had awarded the contract to a bidder that had not yet been able “to put in place the appropriate infrastructure,” and said pharmacies  “should not engage in providing this service, even for another supplier”. 

Mr Macintyre argued that this bidding process was “not good for patients, the health board or independent contractors,” and that if future services are bid for at an individual contractor level it would “create a dramatically uneven playing field”. 

He said that delivering a vaccination service in this way could “seriously undermine the ability of a community pharmacy to provide its core pharmaceutical services”.

Pharmacies ‘prevented from bidding’

When approached by Pharmacy Network News for further comment, Mr Macintyre said: “Community Pharmacy Greater Glasgow and Clyde local committee are of the view that community pharmacies are an ideal vehicle for public health initiatives like travel health vaccinations.

“Many pharmacy teams are experienced in the delivery of vaccination services privately as well as having a proven track record in delivering immunisations on behalf of NHS Health Boards.”

He said the local health board has a “long history of working collaboratively with community pharmacy,” but added: “Unfortunately, in this case NHS GGC chose not to discuss their proposals.

“Instead, they chose to undertake a tendering exercise, the terms of which prevented both individual pharmacies and the committee from submitting a bid on behalf of the local network of pharmacies. 

“This is clearly a disappointing development as it is unclear at this point how the identified need will be met in a sustainable way – but the committee remains fully committed to being part of the solution should circumstances change." 

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde told PNN it was unable to comment on specific details “as the tender process is still underway and the contract has not yet been awarded” but said it has taken advice “from a range of stakeholders” throughout the process and is confident the service will be ready from April 1 as planned.

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