Hundreds of frontline NHS staff in Salisbury don't have flu jab

Hundreds of frontline NHS staff in Salisbury don't have flu jab

Published by Mike Draper at 4:00am 2nd February 2020.

4 minute read

Doctors, nurses and other key staff in the Salisbury Trust have not protected themselves and their patients against the virus, according to new figures.

The Society for Acute Medicine says it's concerning that many NHS staff across England who deal with patients have not been vaccinated.

According to Public Health England:

  • 795 of 2,925 frontline workers at the Salisbury NHS Trust were not immunised against flu by the end of December
  • The uptake rate is 72.8% - which is higher than the national average of 68.5%

SALISBURY NHS TRUST IMPROVES FLU-JAB UPTAKE

On Friday (31 Jan 2020) Lorna Wilkinson, Director of Nursing at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust told Spire FM News:

"Staff flu vaccination forms a key part of our overall plans to protect staff and patients in hospital and through our staff flu campaign we put in place a number of measures to encourage and make it as easy possible for staff to get the flu vaccination."

"80% of our frontline staff have now received the flu vaccination. This is an improvement on our uptake rate compared to this time last year and we have not only met but are now likely to exceed the 80% target, which is a great achievement."

"We are continuing to offer all our staff the flu vaccination and would encourage anyone who hasn't yet to contact their Peer Vaccinator/Occupational Health to arrange a convenient time."

The NHS's own guidelines say the flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu, as well as spreading it to others. The best time to have the vaccine is before the start of the flu season, usually December to March.

A sign outside the door to the Salisbury NHS Trust Headquarters at Salisbury District Hospital.
795 frontline NHS staff at the Salisbury Trust were not immunised against flu by the end of December.

FLU JAB INCENTIVE

Doctors, nurses, clinical staff and support workers involved in direct patient care are encouraged to have the jab. Trusts have financial incentives for staff uptake, receiving full payment if at least 80% have it, and a decreasing amount down to 60% coverage, below which they get nothing.

The target is measured between September and February, and the payment varies depending on the size of the trust's contract. The proportion of staff who had the vaccine by the end of December differed widely across the 235 trusts that submitted figures.

Dr Nick Scriven, President of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:

"The NHS has enough to worry about without further issues with staff being unwell when it may have been prevented. We know there is a financial incentive for NHS trusts to get their staff vaccinated but I would hope the health need and protection it offers would be more than enough to persuade people."

Across England, the 68.5% uptake rate at the end of December was better than at the same point a year earlier, when it stood at 65.8%.

Dr Doug Brown, chief executive of the British Society for Immunology, said

"The flu vaccine is the best protection we have against a virus that can lead to serious illness in vulnerable groups. It is extremely important to continue to increase seasonal flu vaccine uptake among frontline healthcare workers to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and causing serious illness in at-risk groups."

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