Health secretary highlights staff flu vaccination in announcement on A&E pressures

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09 / 9 / 2013 2.04pm

 

Today in a statement about A&E pressures during the winter months, the Secretary of State for Health has announced that trusts receiving additional winter pressures funding will be expected to increase their staff flu vaccination rates of all front line staff this winter and next to 75 per cent.

The aim  is to reduce absenteeism due to sickness and reduce the potential for staff infecting patients with flu and increasing their time in hospital. Trusts have been informed that if they do not achieve the 75 per cent target this winter, they will seriously damage their case to receive the winter pressures funding next year.

Jeremy Hunt also announced that a national patient-facing flu campaign will be launched for this winter to protect the most vulnerable from the disease and help tor educe flu related A&E visits.

Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies supported this renewed spotlight on staff flu vaccination in the following statement:

“Frontline staff, by the very nature of their jobs, deal with people who are unwell every day. Simply by having the flu vaccine NHS staff can play an important role in not picking up the flu virus and passing it on to other patients – often people who are already poorly and vulnerable to infection."

"Currently less than half of frontline NHS staff get vaccinated against flu – and in some hospitals, this figure drops to fewer than 1 in 5.  I'd urge all frontline staff to get vaccinated and encourage their colleagues to do so too.”

Dean Royles, chief executive for NHS Employers said:

"As the organisers of the national NHS staff flu vaccination campaign, NHS Employers knows trusts are already doing a great deal to encourage staff to be vaccinated. It’ll be a huge challenge for many to get three quarters vaccinated, especially when their immunisation plans are already in place, but we’ll be there to support them every step of the way."

For trusts included in the list of 53, NHS Employers will provide additional support, advice and guidance to assist them in achieving this target through suggesting best practice and strategies for them to implement this season.

If you have any top tips of best practice you would like to share with other trusts, contact us at flufighter@nhsemployers.org 

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