Guidance on administering the flu vaccine

Published on 17 Mar, 2017

The Patient Group Directive provided by Public Health England to deliver vaccinations can only be used by specific registered health professionals including nurses and midwives. It excludes Health Care Assistants.

To ensure HCAs are able to safely give the flu vaccine, the guidance below from the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee is helpful.

The full guidance on the use of the Patient Group and Patient Specific Directives in primary care can be downloaded at www.bma.org.uk/advice/employment/gp-practices/service-provision/prescribing/patient-group-directions.

A health care professional who is not a registered nurse can give flu vaccines. They should have had:

  • specific training for administering flu vaccines
  • deemed competent by a registered nurse or GP
  • feels confident in their practice
  • a Patient Specific Directive linked to the patient which is written by a prescriber.  

The General Medical Council states that a Patient Specific Directive is an instruction from a doctor, dentist or non-medical prescriber who has considered a named patient and given an instruction to supply or administer a named vaccine or drug to this named patient.

Patient Specific Directives are tailored to the needs of individual patients and it is the doctor, dentist or independent prescriber issuing the Patient Specific Directive to be responsible for the instruction.

Patient Specific Directives are a direct instruction and therefore do not require an assessment of the patient by the health care support worker instructed to supply or administer the medicine. However, good practice requires health care support workers to assess the patient’s suitability prior to administrating the vaccine. This may be an electronic instruction, provided that it can be linked uniquely to the patient and the prescriber. The Patient Specific Directive could also be a signed list of patients, such as in a flu or travel clinic.

Health professionals need to be mindful of the requirement to maintain accurate patient records and the need for clear information. It is the prescriber’s responsibility to ensure safe provision of the flu vaccine to their patients.

Useful documents

Patient Specific Direction (PSD) form