A service that sends information about flu vaccinations electronically from pharmacies to GP practices has been expanded ahead of winter.

Electronic notifications have now been introduced for pharmacies and GP practices using Sonar and EMIS Web, following the service launch with PharmOutcomes and TPP SystmOne last year. The service is run by NHS Digital.

Details can be added to a patient’s medical record as soon as a notification is received, which means information will be more up to date. This will help make sure patients who have already had a flu vaccine at a community pharmacy are not contacted unnecessarily to arrange an appointment.

Dr Simon Eccles, chief clinical information officer and deputy chief executive of NHSX, said: “This is an excellent example of how to solve a national problem by building on existing technology.

“This change will greatly improve care for patients by ensuring their family doctor and team are kept informed of their flu vaccinations.

“This has been a fantastic combined effort from all the teams involved at NHSX, NHS Digital and the pharmacy and GP suppliers to expand this important service at such tremendous speed and support our NHS through the flu season.”

The content of the electronic notification is based on the pharmacy information flows data standard developed in partnership with the Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB).

The PRSB worked with clinicians, key stakeholders and professional bodies to develop and endorse the clinical standard, which ensures the right information about vaccinations, the emergency supply of medicines and other community pharmacy services is shared with GPs.

Dr Vishen Ramkisson, senior clinical lead at NHS Digital, said: “Not only do electronic notifications improve patient safety by ensuring information about pharmacy-delivered services is complete, accurate and up to date, they also save time for GP practice staff. This is because transferring the information directly into GP systems reduces the need for transcribing and paper-based communications.

“The service also increases information security, as it ensures the right information about the right patient reaches the right GP practice.”