23 / 1 / 2014 Midnight
Almost 500,000 frontline NHS staff have now had a flu vaccination.
The national NHS flu fighter campaign is celebrating new figures that show over half of frontline NHS staff in England are now having flu vaccinations.
The Public Health England figures, published today, show that 494,083 (53.1 per cent) were vaccinated by 31 December 2013 – a proportion 21 per cent higher than at the same time the previous year (44 per cent or 436,579 staff).
These vaccinations have made a significant contribution to this year’s winter planning in the NHS, as they help to keep the workforce healthy and protect vulnerable patients.
The figures are a big step above last year’s and show that the campaign is gaining momentum. Vaccinations continued into this month but this winter has already broken staff flu vaccination records. The vaccination total was 34.7 per cent in 2010/11(1) - the winter before the launch of flu fighter, which is run annually by the NHS Employers organisation.
Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation that runs the campaign, said:
“Our ambition has always been to make staff flu vaccinations the norm and there are exciting signs that this is happening. Wherever you go, you see staff arranging their jab because they’ve seen colleagues doing it, they know it helps protect patients, and they have good local arrangements. It’s what we had hoped for – that the effort would gain a life of its own locally and begin to accelerate.
“There’s a really strong message about the importance of social media and good engagement. They are the reasons why so many more staff are getting vaccinated now than three years ago when the flu fighter campaign began. We’re seeing around 5,000 staff being vaccinated every day and every single one of those will help keep the NHS and its patients safe, especially in any event of a flu outbreak.”
GP surgeries, trusts and other organisations have received flu fighter’s wide range of support material and access to expert advice. Staff flu vaccinations are not mandatory so raising awareness is crucial for combating the virus, which can be fatal to vulnerable patients and so disruptive to NHS staff and services.
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).
This year flu fighter has also expanded to support healthcare providers and their staff in Wales.
View the figures in full
Notes to Editors
(1) NHS staff flu vaccination totals were 45.6 per cent at the end of the 2012/13 winter, 44.7 per cent in 2011/12 and 34.7 per cent in 2010/11.
80 NHS trusts have now achieved 60 per cent or higher vaccination rates.
Flu fighter has expanded to include Wales in 2013/14