Cheshire and Wirral - flu systems go!

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26 / 10 / 2015 9am

During this season’s flu and health and wellbeing campaigns, we’re following the team at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundations Trust’s (CWP) progress – the strengths and the struggles.

Last season, CWP had a flu vaccination uptake rate of 34 per cent. This year, the team decided to introduce new elements such as incentives and improving accessibility to vaccinations, to help raise staff awareness and to improve their health and wellbeing strategy. 

We’ll be following the trust throughout their journey as they track their triumphs as well as their campaign barriers.  

Blog one: the flu campaign is ready for lift off... 

Author: Karen Phillips, Head of Occupational Health at CWP 

This is my very first flu fighter campaign as the head of occupational health at CWP. I must admit, before I began this process I had no idea about the amount of hard work that goes into planning campaign activity! The behind the scenes dedication to protect every person in the trust against this highly infectious, and potentially life-threatening, virus is nothing short of amazing.  

Following our 2014/15 flu vaccination uptake of 34 per cent, the team at CWP decided to reassess some of our flu campaign approaches in order to improve uptake. The CWP flu fighter team is now geared up to immunise more patient-facing staff than ever before. We believe that by immunising our staff, we will not only be protecting them from getting ill, but will also be protecting our patients, families and friends too. In order to achieve this, we’ve included five pieces of good practice into our planning process – accessibility, communication, reward, peer vaccinators and all hands on deck. 

Accessibility
As part of the campaign, we’ve planned to hold various flu clinics across the trust. Last year, we had some issues with people not being able to make the clinics so would go elsewhere, which resulted in no recording of their vaccination. This year, in addition to the clinics, we’re giving staff the opportunity to attend their local pharmacy or supermarket to get immunised free of charge, and we are doing our best to make sure that staff complete a voucher form to allow us to track the number of people who use this option for their vaccination. 

Reward
We have planned to incentivise our campaign this year. As part of our dual commitment, both to the flu fighter campaign and to health and wellbeing among our workforce, the first 1,000 people that are immunised will receive a free day pass to use at their local Total Fitness gym. Additionally, we are giving every 75th member of staff that has the jab a £20 high street shopping voucher – so let’s roll up our sleeves and get started!  

Communication 
Despite my needle phobia, I have agreed to be one of the first in the queue in Bowmere Hospital to lead the way for colleagues to have the vaccination. We will be using the #flufighter hashtag on our CWP twitter account to let people know where the jabs are taking place, and to build up some noise about the campaign. We will also be able to see which of our colleagues have been immunised, and I will have the role of keeping an eye on the healthy competition among our three localities and corporate services, to see who will reach their target first – and I’ll be sending them some encouraging tweets along the way! 

All hands on deck
Our flu planning group is made up of a mix of professionals, who have all contributed massively to the preparation of this year’s campaign. We have Gill Bale, occupational health lead, who has worked hard to match immunisers to available sessions, and to sourcing appropriate venues. Dianne Jones, professional development lead, has gone above and beyond her duties to facilitate training sessions to increase our flu immunising cohort. Ian Winton, clinical pharmacy technician, has ensured that all vaccines and patient group directions have been available on time and accessible for staff. Finally, the chair of this year’s campaign is Julie Critchley, service director CWP West and emergency planning lead.  

Peer vaccinators
At this stage, I’d also like to thank the immunisers who are undertaking this work above their normal duties, and also their managers for releasing them from some duties to ensure that we can do everything possible to make this year’s campaign a success.

We’ll report back in a few weeks on the how our campaign is going – but for now good luck to all of the dedicated flu fighters across the country. 

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