27 / 2 / 2013 Midnight
The teams behind record levels of NHS staff flu vaccinations were celebrated today at the national NHS flu fighter awards, hosted by the NHS Employers organisation.
These are groups of NHS staff who are passionate about vaccinations, and their tireless work to drive-up staff flu vaccination levels has succeeded. Government figures published yesterday reveal that a greater proportion of NHS staff than ever before are now vaccinated against flu - 45.9 per cent of all frontline NHS staff (459,293 individuals) has been vaccinated by the end of January.
The new figures represent a 30 per cent increase since we started the campaign two years ago. This highlights the continued effort of NHS staff to protect themselves, friends, family and vulnerable patients from this dangerous virus, which killed 602 people two winters ago.
These teams' work to encourage uptake is crucial because vaccinations are not mandatory for NHS staff.
Five winning individuals and teams, from among 25 shortlisted entries, were announced at the ceremony in Leeds City Museum. They were as follows, with comments from the judging panel that included Nursing Times editor Jenni Middleton:
- Eva Johnson, Paramedic from East Midlands Ambulance Trust, won the Flu champion award. Judges said she: "demonstrated a commitment far beyond what was expected. Eva and her team travelled far and wide to deliver the vaccine and we were particularly impressed by their innovative ways of reducing vaccine wastage. In the words of those who made the nomination they were a 'fantastic asset to this year's programme.'"
- Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust won the Flu fighting team award. This team caught the judges' eye for the way that they brought different parts of their organisation together. Judges said: "Staff ranging from occupational health, pharmacy and the trust's volunteers department joined forces to support the campaign. An effective use of drop in clinics, link nurses, 'ambushing' people at group meetings and induction led to an impressive vaccination rate of 69.2 per cent and rising."
- NHS Nottinghamshire County won the Most improved trust award. Judges said the team: "worked tirelessly to improve their vaccination rate with impressive results. By implementing a wide range of initiatives they have almost doubled uptake in twelve months to 80.5 per cent."
- Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust won the Innovative flu fighter campaign award. The judges said they were: "impressed by the eye catching and fun campaign materials. The campaign was light-hearted yet succeeded in getting the message across. It made the whole campaign more approachable with impressive results. Great designs together with great messages!"
- NHS Manchester won the #flufighter digital and social media award. Judges said: "By using the full social media box of tricks they have used social media not only to engage and promote flu awareness amongst their own staff but also with patients and staff across the country. To put it simply, the judges were #wellimpressed!"
The flu uptake rates of these trusts, as well as the latest national uptake figure of 45.9 per cent, can be seen here.
These teams are essential to the success of the flu fighters national staff flu vaccination campaign. The NHS Employers organisation runs the campaign and provides useful resources, advice, social media forums and other support to help the teams succeed.
Dean Royles hosted today's award ceremony and is chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation. He said:
"People can forget how important it is to be creative in the workplace and to step outside of our normal working patterns - but when it happens it's exciting and can unite colleagues behind a good cause. All the winners - as well as the runners-up and every other hard-working team - should be very proud of what they've achieved, which goes beyond the call of duty and inspires others to do likewise. And it's great to see social media being used so effectively.
"The really big win in the long term will be to get everyone seeing vaccinations as normal practice, but a lot of people still have reservations and it's important our campaign keeps answering their questions. These fantastic local teams will always be the lifeblood of our NHS flu fighter campaign and I'm confident that, with their support, we'll all increasingly keep flu out of the NHS to protect its staff and patients."
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. More information is available at www.nhsemployers.org/flu and also on Facebook (www.facebook.com/nhsflufighter) and Twitter (@NHSFlufighter).