Community pharmacy contractors are required to demonstrate that all vaccinators (including pharmacists) providing the flu vaccination service in their pharmacy have the skills needed to do so.
From the 2022/23 flu vaccination season, pharmacists and other vaccinators providing the Flu Vaccination Service now only need to attend face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support training periodically.
Prior to this change, pharmacists and other vaccinators needed to undertake refresher face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support (including administration of adrenaline) every three years.
The frequency of face-to-face training
Contractors and vaccinators will now need to consider when it would be appropriate to attend refresher training or if ongoing competence of an individual vaccinator can be evidenced, without the need for face-to-face training.
An individual’s continued competence may be influenced by their prior experience vaccinating patients, including the overall number of vaccines administered and the regularity with which they administer vaccines.
The National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners recommend that immunisers should keep a portfolio of completed competency checklists, knowledge test score sheets, reflective logs, completion of e-learning course certificates and certificates of attendance at immunisation training courses and updates. This will provide vaccinators with a means to be able to show evidence of completion of training and achievement of competence to both current and future employers. It will also provide useful evidence of continuing professional development for professional revalidation.
Annual update training
Vaccinators are still expected to undertake annual update training, to ensure their knowledge stays up to date with changes in practice and guidance. This may involve self-directed learning, using relevant references sources, such as the Green Book and the annual flu letter. It may also include online training which is available from a range of providers.
Assessment of vaccinator competency
The Declaration of Competence (DoC) approach, using the Vaccination Services DoC (hosted on the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education website), had previously been the only way which pharmacists providing the service could demonstrate their competence to the contractor.
NHS England and PSNC have, this year, agreed an alternative option to assure the competence of any vaccinators (including pharmacists). The Flu vaccinator competency assessment tool, developed by the UK Health Security Agency, can now be used. It can be used as a self-assessment tool, an assessment tool for use with a supervisor or both depending on the previous experience of the vaccinator.
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