Data on flu vaccinations is being shared between pharmacies and GPs to save time during appointments as part of an NHS Digital pilot.

The pilot, taking place in Leeds, involves electronic notifications about patients who have had their flu jab in a pharmacy being sent to their GP via clinical systems.

This not only saves time for GPs and pharmacies but also helps improve data quality and reduce possibilities of errors, NHS Digital said.

Details can be added from GP systems to the patient’s medical record as soon as the notification is received from the pharmacy, meaning information will be more up-to-date.

This will ensure patients who have already had their vaccination won’t be contacted unnecessarily to arrange an appointment.

Community pharmacies and GP practices in Leeds are the first in the country to send and receive notifications in this way.

Initially, only pharmacies using PharmOutcomes and GP practices using SystmOne will be able to send and receive the electronic notifications.

If the pilot is deemed successful the service will be rolled-out nationally later this year, initially for PharmOutcomes and SystmOne users and then for other suppliers following similar pilot schemes, NHS Digital said.

The content of the electronic notification is based on the flu vaccination data standard developed in partnership with the Professional Record Standards Body.

It comes as all prescriptions in England are to become digital following the roll-out of the final stage of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) in November.

Following successful trials in 60 GP practices and thousands of pharmacies, it’s estimated the service will save the NHS £300 million a year by 2021 through reducing paper processing and prescribing errors.

The pilot saw some 329,000 prescriptions dispensed by more than 3,100 community pharmacies. Roll-out is due to begin on 18 November.