flu fighter residential care summit

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28 / 10 / 2015 1.07pm

On 27 October, NHS Employers' flu fighter team hosted a ministerial summit to launch the new flu fighter residential care programme.

The summit was chaired by Sharon Allen, chief executive of Skills for Care, and was supported by Jane Ellison MP, Minister for Public Health and Alistair Burt MP, Minister for Community and Social Care. 

The event was also attended by senior representatives across the care and regulatory sectors.

The key themes of the day were to discuss the importance of improving staff uptake of the vaccination in care settings, and the challenges that employers in this sector could face when implementing their local campaigns.

We are looking forward to continuing the conversations that started at the summit, and working with residential care representatives to take forward the flu fighter residential care campaign.

Summit round-up

  • Researcher, Gavin Dabrera from Public Health England, presented information on why the flu vaccination is important and how to collect data on vaccination uptake.
  • A round table discussion focused on current practice and awareness levels, working with GPs and pharmacies, and ways of collecting data.
  • Attendees from the Department of Health, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), National Care Association, UK Home Care Association, National Care Forum, HC One, Registered Nursing Homes, BUPA, Barchester, CQC, and UNISON shared their challenges and thoughts around solutions. 
  • Ruth Warden, assistant director, and Helen Bogan, programme lead, at NHS Employers shared the new flu fighter residential care resources. 

Key discussion points from the day:

Who should be vaccinated?
To offer the best protection, summit attendees felt that the vaccination would need to be offered to all employees, not just direct care workers, as they are also in regular contact with those receiving care and support.

Inconsistency across providers and local authorities
Attendees discussed the cost differences in obtaining vaccinations as well as the different incentives and deals related to this. It was agreed that this topic should be further discussed and a solution would be important to the sector.

We need a range of options for vaccinating
Due to the difference between small and large care providers, it would be beneficial to produce a range of options for vaccinating staff. When making local arrangements for accessing the vaccinations, they would be able to select an option that best suits them. For example having a GP to come into the care home to vaccinate staff or giving staff vouchers to go to a local pharmacy to have the vaccine.

Communication is key
Managers will want to know why the vaccination is important and what benefits there are. All communication materials need to be clearly tailored to the residential care sector, and avoid confusion with NHS targeted resources.

Next steps for the flu fighter team

  • We will link with the summit attendees to share the flu fighter residential care resources to their networks.
  • We will be visiting care settings over the next few months to identify and share good practice.
  • We will promote new case studies to inspire your own flu fighter residential care campaign.

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