You may not ever have thought about where you get your flu jab, and what difference it makes, so I just wanted to take a moment to outline why it makes a huge difference that you get it done here with us.
Every year, each practice has to buy in the amount of vaccines they need. We do this based on how many patients fall into the groups that will be invited to have a vaccine and the uptake we saw last year. Each year, the criteria for who is eligible changes, and we have no control over this. We have to order the vaccines a year in advance, so right now, next year’s vaccines have already been purchased even though we don’t know if there will be any changes to the eligibility criteria. We then plan in our staffing capacity to make sure we can get everyone vaccinated efficiently. As we run the clinics over the weekend, the staffing costs are higher.
On Saturday, we had 1600 appointments booked and we had approximately 300 people who didn’t turn up. All week we had heard about pharmacies offering to do your flu jabs instead, telling you that it would help us, the surgery. Unfortunately the opposite is true.
Whilst the important thing is that each patient gets their vaccination, every vaccine we don’t administer still has a cost – we don’t get a refund on the ones we don’t use, in this case 300. That means every patient who gets their jab elsewhere technically costs us money – even if you think you were doing the right thing, because of what the pharmacy told you.
I don’t want you to feel that you can’t do the most convenient thing for you, I just want you to be aware of the impact it has on us. We get paid for the number of vaccines we administer (it’s very minimal, but it’s still something) and this money goes towards the cost of putting on the vaccination clinics. 300 cancellations starts to put us at a point where we are running the clinics at a loss – one that could potentially be avoided, if people honoured their appointment with us, rather than going to a pharmacy.
We have another clinic on Saturday with 1000 patients currently booked in, and room for more of you to book in or drop in. Although the queue looks long, it actually moves really quickly and most people are in and out within a few minutes. We would be really grateful if you kept your appointment, and said no if you are asked to vaccinate elsewhere.