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Healthcare News - NHS urges frontline staff to get flu jab

Posted on 18/09/2018 by

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NHS urges frontline staff to get flu jab as uptake rate across Bradford district is revealed

Frontline NHS staff are being urged to get the flu jab

THE NHS is urging all frontline healthcare workers to have a flu jab this winter to protect high-risk patients.

Figures from Public Health England have revealed the uptake in the Bradford and surrounding district between September 2017 and February 2018 -a period which included the worst flu season in a decade.

Of the 2,248 doctors, nurses, clinical staff and support workers at the Bradford District Care Trust, 1,865 did get the vaccine - an uptake rate of 83 per cent.

At the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, there was an uptake rate of 71 per cent, with 2,997 of 4,215 frontline staff getting the jab.

Meanwhile, there was an uptake rate of 75 per cent at the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust - 1,423 of 1,910 workers - and 70 per cent - 3,192 of 4,531 workers - at the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust

The England average is 69 per cent and in a letter to trusts earlier this month, the NHS praised trusts which surpassed 90 per cent coverage last year.

On a national level,vaccine uptake varied considerably between trusts. At one, 92 per cent of frontline workers were vaccinated and in another, just 39 per cent.

The NHS said making vaccination "near universal" is to protect patients in higher-risk clinical environments, like neonatal intensive care and cancer wards, and limit their exposure to unvaccinated staff.

Up to 50% of people with the flu may not even know they have it - but for patients with weakened immune systems or respiratory problems, the flu can be life-threatening.

The NHS said that trusts should "take appropriate steps to maintain the safety of the service", including transferring unvaccinated workers away from high-risk patients.

It outlined several reasons why healthcare workers with direct patient contact should be vaccinated, including recent NICE guidelines outlining a link between lower rates of staff vaccination and increased patient death.

It also said that flu-related staff sickness puts pressure on other staff members.

The Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it had reported a figure of 72 per cent to NHS England.

A spokesperson said this was above the national average and above the national target set by NHS England.

“This year we would once again call upon as many of our staff as possible to get vaccinated as this scheme helps to protect them, as well as our patients, from flu," they said.

While Philippa Hubbard, Deputy Director of Adult Physical Health and Children’s Services at the Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, said all staff are encouraged to have the flu vaccination and it's offered on an annual basis.

Jill Asbury, director of nursing at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said the trust is hoping to beat 75 per cent.

She said: “Over the summer, a group of staff from across the hospital have been trained to administer vaccinations which means that they will be able to give their colleagues vaccinations at different times of day and night, making the vaccine more accessible for a wider range of people.

“We actively encourage all our clinical staff to take up the vaccination, but as with the general public there are occasions where staff are unable to have their jab.”

And David Birkenhead, Medical Director at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust said the trust will be doing everything it can to promote the vaccine and encourage its staff to protect themselves, their patients and their families.

Chief nurse for NHS England Professor Jane Cummings said that "myths" persist around the flu vaccine, with the "big one" being that it gives people the flu.

She said: "By getting vaccinated against flu, healthcare workers can protect themselves, their families, colleagues and patients, making sure we have a healthy workforce and helping to reduce the pressure on services over winter."

Public Health England said that it encourages action from professional health bodies to increase vaccine uptake.

PHE medical director Professor Paul Cosford said: "There is a dual responsibility on trusts and healthcare workers to get rates as high as possible."

Source: Telegraph&Argus