Care Pathways

16.09.20

NHS launches ‘vital’ staff flu vaccination drive

Senior clinicians and leaders have urged their frontline colleagues across the health and care sectors to get their annual flu jab as soon as possible, with the first vaccine deliveries due to start reaching local employers this week.

The calls come alongside an expanded flu vaccination programme for both public and frontline health and social care workers, with a record 30 million people eligible for a free vaccine this year.

Due to their contact with patients and those they care for frontline staff are at a higher risk of catching flu.

Hospitals and other local NHS organisations across England are set to begin running drop-in clinics and promotional activity in the coming weeks, after the first batches of this year’s vaccines start to arrive. The health service is aiming to ensure every single eligible member of staff is able to get a flu vaccination this year.

An expanded offer has been put in place this year for frontline social care workers who are all eligible to get a free flu vaccination from a GP or pharmacy. Pharmacists are able to deliver the vaccination to residential care staff where they work to make it easier to access the flu jab.

Protecting against flu in health and care staff is vital, as it can lead to staff absences or, for those who suffer infections resulting in only mild or unnoticeable symptoms, unintended transmission to vulnerable people they come into contact with.

Research has suggested there could be as high as a 10% reduction in healthcare worker sickness absence rates if we saw a 10% increase in NHS staff vaccination. With annual winter pressures and increased absence rates as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, limiting avoidable staff sickness in key frontline health and care roles will be vital.

iStock-1266494637

Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, has penned an open letter alongside the NHS’ most senior clinicians to more than one million frontline NHS staff, imploring them to help protect themselves and vulnerable patients they might come into contact with from flu, highlighting the extraordinary circumstances health and care services are expected to face this winter with Covid-19 still present.

Ms May said: “Every year we urge our colleagues to protect themselves, their families and their patients by taking up the free flu jab, and every year more and more do – but this year’s call is the most vital we have ever made.

“The flu has a serious impact on the health of thousands of people every winter, and with the added risk of Covid-19 this year the NHS needs as many of its staff as possible to be fighting fit over the coming months.

“And even more importantly, just as we are making every effort to stop the spread of coronavirus in our hospitals, so we must also do the same for flu. Getting a vaccine is the single most effective way every member of our staff can contribute to this.”

The letter was co-signed by NHS National Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis, Dr Nikki Kanani, Medical Director of Primary Care, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Midwifery Officer, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief People Officer Prerana Issar and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Dr Keith Ridge.

A record 74.3% of doctors, nurses, midwives, therapists and all NHS staff who have direct contact with patients took up the vaccine through their employer last year, with most local NHS employers achieving 75% or higher.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, said: “This year has seen an incredible effort from our doctors, our nurses, our carers and everyone working on the frontline to protect us from coronavirus. Now getting a free flu jab this winter will protect them, as well as their patients and the people they care for, at a critical time for our country.

“Last year saw more health care workers than ever before getting their flu jab. This year we can go further so that all of our brilliant frontline NHS and social care staff can get the flu vaccine as standard – so that together we can meet the unique challenge we face this winter.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Digital prescribing and records introduction boosted by funding

18/09/2020Digital prescribing and records introduction boosted by funding

More patients and healthcare staff are set to benefit from single electronic patient records after the UK Government announced £8.7m fundin... more >
NICE’s support for rebuilding capacity in non-Covid health services

18/09/2020NICE’s support for rebuilding capacity in non-Covid health services

Paul Chrisp, Director of the Centre for Guidelines, NICE When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK’s shores earlier this year, the NHS res... more >
New Lighthouse Labs established to boost testing capacity

17/09/2020New Lighthouse Labs established to boost testing capacity

Testing capacity is set to be significantly boosted through the creation of two new Lighthouse Labs in Newcastle and Bracknell. The announce... more >

editor's comment

26/06/2020Adapting and Innovating

Matt Roberts, National Health Executive Editorial Lead. NHE May/June 2020 Edition We’ve been through so much as a health sector and a society in recent months with coronavirus and nothing can take away from the loss and difficulties that we’ve faced but it vital we also don’t disregard the amazing efforts we’v... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

NICE’s support for rebuilding capacity in non-Covid health services

18/09/2020NICE’s support for rebuilding capacity in non-Covid health services

Paul Chrisp, Director of the Centre for Guidelines, NICE When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK’s shores earlier this year, the NHS responded quickly, diverting and devoting resources to make sure patients facing this new and unknown pathogen received the best possible care. But in doing so, many other health services were reduc... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental health and wellbeing. As the best rugby players in the world repr... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >

interviews

Organ Donation Week: Having the conversation

11/09/2020Organ Donation Week: Having the conversation

As part of Organ Donation Week, NHE’s Matt Roberts spoke with our Managing Director Roy Rowlands about the importance of raising aware... more >
Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >

health service focus

View all News