Barbershop and bug impersonations win at this year's NHS flu fighter awards

Flu bug

26 / 3 / 2015 11.02am

A local barbershop choir and ‘flu bug impersonations’ were among the lighter-hearted activities in the serious, effective local campaigns that won at yesterday’s NHS flu fighter awards.

The awards are part of the NHS flu fighter campaign run by NHS Employers, which has helped increase the number of frontline NHS staff having flu vaccinations by 182,000 since it began in 2011.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, co-presented the awards and said:

“These teams have done fantastic work to help make the NHS an even safer place for staff, patients, and anyone they have contact with. More than a million people use the NHS every 36 hours and many can be very vulnerable to flu. So it’s great that over half a million NHS staff now find time in their busy days to seek out these voluntary vaccinations.

“Constant innovation is essential in local campaigns. Great ideas are spreading between flu fighter and other important projects such as Care Makers.”

More details about the winners of all six categories can be seen at Here are short summaries:

  • Winner of Flu fighter champion: Stuart Young of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust. Stuart was the first nurse to undertake a mobile vaccination clinic. He encouraged peer vaccinators who lacked confidence when giving injections. He sent over 900 tweets about the campaign, making sure people knew where to get the jab. He also tweeted national nursing figures, including asking Jeremy Hunt if he’d had his flu jab. He educated and influenced a staggering 1139 employees to have their jab, many of whom had never had it before, contributing significantly to the 81 per cent uptake.
  • Winner of #flufighter award for digital and social media: East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust. They tackled myths about the vaccine by asking their barbershop choir to write and record a song to educate staff about the dangers of flu. They produced an accompanying video that inspired the #FluFighterFace campaign where executive and non-executive directors had their flu jabs and pulled a #FluFighterFace to encourage vaccinations. Local teams and social media helped vaccinations to increase to 49.2 per cent last winter from 41.8 per cent the year before.
  • Winner of Most improved flu fighter campaign: Devon County Council. Their vaccination rate increased to 122 staff in 2014/15 from just ten the year before. Upbeat campaign visuals were created using staff from a range of departments and levels. Receiving the vaccine is not the norm in local authorities, so getting the messages across was key. A survey showed that 28 per cent of staff had been influenced to have the vaccination.
  • Winner of Best flu fighter team: South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Using a collaborative approach each team member contributed, from IT to pharmacy, helping the campaign reach even staff in difficult-to-reach locations. They increased staff engagement from ward to board and trained more than 100 flu champions to vaccinate staff using small incentives. The result was their highest uptake to date - 75.5 per cent (5,880 frontline healthcare workers) across nine hospitals.
  • Winner of Innovative flu fighter campaign: Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust. The ‘ImmuniseYourSelfie’ digital campaign really got people talking about the flu vaccination. Flu facts and public health-themed posts coincided with seasonal events such as Movember and Halloween. Over 90 #fluselfie entries were generated, as well as over 400 staff mentions of #ImmuniseYourSelfie on Twitter, over 500 retweets and over 300 Facebook posts - assisting the trust in achieving over 65 per cent uptake of flu vaccinations.
  • Winner of Flu fighter carers award (a new category): Newland Community Pharmacy. The team wanted to reach carers (who can also be patients) that didn’t know that they were eligible for a free flu jab. They used leaflets, posters, and screens in the window. They also designed a flu information display in the customer waiting area and a member of staff was appointed as a ‘flu helper’. All of the pharmacy staff were vaccinated so they were able to talk carers through the process and ease any doubts. Pharmacy vaccinations were convenient for many and the campaign had a great impact in the region, leading to 150 per cent increase of flu vaccinations on the previous year. Among the excellent feedback received, one person highlighted how it eased some of her worries during the palliative stages of her husband’s illness.

There have been year-on-year increases in NHS staff flu vaccinations since flu fighter launched nationally in 2011. At the end of the last winter 541,000 (54.9 per cent) of frontline NHS staff were choosing to be vaccinated, compared with 359,000 (34.7 per cent) in 2010/11- the winter before the national campaign began.

The vaccinations are not mandatory but help to protect staff, their friends, family and patients from flu. flu fighter provides information and resources to help the NHS promote vaccinations locally and make them more convenient to have. More details are at, #flufighter and


Notes for editors:

Contact details:

If you have a media enquiry, please contact the press office:
Mike Foster
Senior Media Officer
NHS Employers
Tel: 020 7799 8671
For out of hours media enquiries, please contact the duty press officer on 07880 500 726.

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