28 / 1 / 2013 Midnight
The number of NHS staff choosing to be vaccinated against flu is on course to reach its highest levels by the end of this winter, with encouragement from the national flu fighter campaign.
Official figures released by the Department of Health today show that 44 per cent of frontline NHS staff had received their jab by the end of December - up from 43 per cent record figure on the same date a year earlier.
Many additional vaccinations have been recorded since the end of December and it is hoped these will bring this winter's total above the record 44.7 per cent achieved the previous year, and far above the 34.7 per cent the year before.
Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation that has run the national flu fighter campaign in 2011/12 and 2012/13, said:
"NHS trusts and their staff have done a fantastic job to increase the number of vaccinations each year. Almost half a million NHS staff are now vaccinated and this greatly reduces the chance of them contracting flu, and passing it on to their family or vulnerable patients.
"The flu jab isn’t compulsory, so it's a major achievement to mobilise this many staff to get vaccinated and we are proud of their commitment to keeping the NHS safe for patients and colleagues. This year social media has become even more important to the campaign and it's great to see staff really owning it and adding so much local flavour and enthusiasm.
"Flu isn't always something you think about until it's too late, but 602 people tragically died from flu two years ago and we need to stay vigilant. Our campaign will continue to promote the vaccinations nationally and locally, working to ensure that they are accessible and answer any questions staff may have. Then maybe one day having a flu jab will become as commonplace in the NHS as washing our hands."
Details of the NHS trusts with the fast climbing and highest rates are available here. They include:
- Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, who have vaccinated 79.4 per cent of staff involved in direct patient care.
- Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with 80.9 per cent vaccine uptake in their frontline health care workers.
- Rotherham Primary Care Trust, who have vaccinated 75.6 per cent of staff involved in direct patient care.
- Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, who have vaccinated 75.5 per cent of frontline health care workers.
- University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, who have vaccinated 75.5 per cent of their 4685 frontline health care staff.
The Department of Health figures
are available here.
NHS Employers has continued to use social media to increase awareness of the campaign this year, successfully encouraging trusts to embed #flufighter in flu conversations across the Twitter network. The social media presence of the campaign continues to encourage feedback from employers and staff about the flu vaccination. A Twitter chat was recently held with @wenurses, an engaged online nursing community, which enabled staff to share their experiences of encouraging staff flu vaccination. More information is available at www.nhsemployers.org/flu and also on Facebook (www.facebook.com/nhsflufighter) and Twitter (@NHSflufighter).