A Review of the Procurement of Seasonal Flu Vaccine

Closed 17 Aug 2011

Opened 25 May 2011

Overview

Assessment of the existing system of local procurement of seasonal flu vaccine suggests that it may not provide the most effective or efficient approach. It may be possible to achieve savings through a more centralised purchasing scheme, so that resources can be reinvested elsewhere.

The current arrangements for procuring seasonal flu vaccine can leave GPs and the public at risk: GPs may be left with a surplus, leaving them out of pocket; or a shortfall, meaning they are unable to vaccinate everyone in their area who is eligible for vaccination. A different approach to the way vaccine is ordered and supplied may safeguard both the public and GPs through improving vaccine availability, and open up the possibility of achieving higher vaccination uptake in future.

In addition, new procurement arrangements may help to avoid the localised vaccine shortages experienced in the winter of 2010/2011.

You can read the full consultation document by following this link:

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/DH_127078

Why We Are Consulting

Central procurement could help prevent vaccine shortages by allowing greater flexibility in deployment of stock, and the possibility of building in a strategic reserve.

The total cost of the seasonal flu vaccination programme is approximately £180 million each year. There may be scope to reduce these costs through the introduction of centralised approach to the procurement of seasonal flu vaccine.

The government recognises that a change in the way flu vaccine is procured would have implications for the delivery of the vaccination programme.

The government is therefore keen to make sure that the decision about whether or not to proceed is informed by the expertise of relevant organisations and individuals. It would welcome your view on the following questions.

The consultation process

Criteria for consultation

This consultation follows the ‘Government Code of Practice’, in particular we aim to:

  • formally consult at a stage where there is scope to influence the policy outcome;
  • consult for at least 12 weeks with consideration given to longer timescales where feasible and sensible;
  • be clear about the consultation’s process in the consultation documents, what is being proposed, the scope to influence and the expected costs and benefits of the proposals;
  • ensure the consultation exercise is designed to be accessible to, and clearly targeted at, those people it is intended to reach;
  • keep the burden of consultation to a minimum to ensure consultations are effective and to obtain consultees’ ‘buy-in’ to the process;
  • analyse responses carefully and give clear feedback to participants following the consultation;
  • ensure officials running consultations are guided in how to run an effective consultation; and
  • exercise and share what they learn from the experience.

The full text of the code of practice is on the Better Regulation website at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/better-regulation/consultation-guidance

Comments on the consultation process itself

If you have concerns or comments which you would like to make relating specifically to the consultation process itself please contact:

Consultations Co-ordinator
Department of Health
3E48, Quarry House
Leeds
LS2 7UE

e-mail consultations.co-ordinator@dh.gsi.gov.uk

Please do not send consultation responses to this address.

Confidentiality of information

We manage the information you provide in response to this consultation in accordance with the Department of Health's Information Charter at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FreedomOfInformation/DH_088010

Information we receive, including personal information, may be published or disclosed in accordance with the access to information regimes (primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004).

What Happens Next

The consultation process

Criteria for consultation

This consultation follows the ‘Government Code of Practice’, in particular we aim to:

  • formally consult at a stage where there is scope to influence the policy outcome;
  • consult for at least 12 weeks with consideration given to longer timescales where feasible and sensible;
  • be clear about the consultation’s process in the consultation documents, what is being proposed, the scope to influence and the expected costs and benefits of the proposals;
  • ensure the consultation exercise is designed to be accessible to, and clearly targeted at, those people it is intended to reach;
  • keep the burden of consultation to a minimum to ensure consultations are effective and to obtain consultees’ ‘buy-in’ to the process;
  • analyse responses carefully and give clear feedback to participants following the consultation;
  • ensure officials running consultations are guided in how to run an effective consultation; and
  • exercise and share what they learn from the experience.

The full text of the code of practice is on the Better Regulation website at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/better-regulation/consultation-guidance

Comments on the consultation process itself

If you have concerns or comments which you would like to make relating specifically to the consultation process itself please contact:

Consultations Co-ordinator
Department of Health
3E48, Quarry House
Leeds
LS2 7UE

e-mail consultations.co-ordinator@dh.gsi.gov.uk

Please do not send consultation responses to this address.

Confidentiality of information

We manage the information you provide in response to this consultation in accordance with the Department of Health's Information Charter at:http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FreedomOfInformation/DH_088010

Information we receive, including personal information, may be published or disclosed in accordance with the access to information regimes (primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004).

Audiences

  • GPs
  • Commissioners
  • Pharmacists
  • Suppliers

Interests

  • Public health
  • Immunisation
  • Primary care