Figures released by Public Health England points to the fact that since 2010/2011, the UK is currently experiencing its most severe flu outbreak which has affected both adults and children. Figures also show that deaths resulting from the flu have also increased by triple the number of the previous year. Therefore, it’s imperative that you maximise the opportunity of your own Flu jab service.
In January 2018, lots of patients hospitalised and a larger number visited a general practitioner or were sent to critical care units due to symptoms associated with flu. Calls to the NHS have also increased because of cases of flu in children leading to suggestions that a flu epidemic may be imminent.
Symptoms of flu can occur very fast and may last for at least one week, mostly taking a toll on people over 65 years, women with pregnancy, or people with health conditions. Its symptoms include:
- Abdominal pains
- Appetite loss
- A headache
- Chesty Cough
Under the national contract, community health pharmacies have provided flu jabs services in England since 2015/2016, and this season, community health pharmacies are vaccinating patients from all age groups. This year, figures reveal that in England, over 70% of community health pharmacies partook in the new flu jab programme. This happens to be a very significant record for community pharmacies in England which is proof that they put in hard work, are dedicated, and stay committed to providing premium health services to patients amidst pressure.
Flu jabs being administered in community health pharmacies increase every year. Community health pharmacies must also create niche services to drive sales and boost revenue besides the sale of prescription drugs. Therefore, offering flu jab services can help pharmacies earn on every jab administered. Flu jabs administered can amount to hundreds with as much as 50-100% profits.
Offering flu jab services can also help community health pharmacies acquire more patients because patients are beginning to visit pharmacies to get vaccinated. This is also because pharmacies can be accessed even after regular work time and are usually easier to locate.
Community Pharmacy personnel who will take part in providing the Flu Jab service must be appropriately trained to ensure the effective dispensation of their duties. All contracted community pharmacies must be able to show that the pharmacists who will provide the flu jab at their pharmacy possess the required skills.
The team is required to have basics knowledge of flu jab service and who qualifies for the service by NHS and. Also, the team must know to whom a private vaccination might be offered, the key stages in the process and what is expected of them.
The document of the National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunization Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners defines the required standards and outlines the important topics which must be embedded in the training to be undergone by healthcare practitioners who are registered. Pharmacists providing the Flu Jab service are expected to first complete the training in Vaccination which matches the established requirements.
Distance-learning courses are available for members of community pharmacy teams aimed at equipping them with the requisite skill set and knowledge for an effective Flu Jab service. These courses come with a workbook and online assessment, and on completion, a certificate accompanied with a Flu Champion badge.
You can assess these courses by clicking the links:
For the winter health course click:
For the Flu Champion course click:
PROVIDING EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE
For the smooth running of the Flu Jab programme, the PSNC has encouraged community pharmacies to adopt the proactive measures outlined below:
- Already existing providers of the flu jab should consider diverting to the national service.
- Community health pharmacies not providing flu vaccinations at present should take into consideration the steps required to provide the new national flub jab service.
- Community health pharmacies should ensure that its personnel is qualified to integrate routine work with the new flu jab service by evaluating its current practices.
- Estimates of the required stock should be taken so as to initiate vaccine procurement from legitimate suppliers.
- Collaborate with General practitioners to develop a cooperative approach for improving service to patients.
HOW A COMMUNITY PHARMACY CAN MARKET THEIR FLU JAB SERVICE EFFECTIVELY
Establishing a marketing campaign in your community health pharmacy can be done by utilizing the resources provided by NHS. Vaccine manufacturers may also provide such resources too. Ensure that the aim of your marketing campaign is to reach every person in your community. You may do the following:
- Establish contact with groups within your community that care for individuals with conditions who qualify to receive the service.
- Take advantage of online platforms like social media and your website to create awareness among your customers and patients.
- With a patients’ permission, use leaflets, stickers or even direct mail invites.
Strategic marketing is vital to business success. Digital marketing offers a whole lot of opportunities to both physical and online-based pharmacies.
Pharmacy Mentor offers digital marketing services for community health pharmacies which focuses on driving sales by helping them connect with individuals and all kinds of businesses around them, and also enhancing their online visibility. Visit Pharmacy Mentor to find out all you need to know about digital marketing for your pharmacy.
It has been established that a lot of work is involved in providing a successful flu jab service. Getting the pharmacy team involved, and coming up with detailed strategies can yield rewards both directly and indirectly for community health pharmacies. It is important to always evaluate your progress.
With the experience and success they achieve in providing flu jab services, some community health pharmacies have gone into the business of private vaccination. Therefore, take advantage of the available training and strategies open to you.
For the winter health training course click:
For the Flu Champion training course click:
Also, endeavour to utilize the opportunities that digital marketing can offer for your community health pharmacy. Visit Pharmacy Mentor to explore.
This article was written on behalf of Mediapharm by Saam Ali from Pharmacy Mentor.