Health bosses at a local NHS Trust are urging staff to get their flu jabs to protect themselves, their family and patients.
Around 4,600 staff work for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in both clinical and non-clinical areas. The Trust provides community, mental health and learning disability services to the people of Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.
98% of the Trust’s contact with people who use services is in the local community. The Trust is encouraging staff to get the flu jab so they can continue to provide the vital services and protect all those they come in contact with.
The call comes after official figures show only 34.7% of all healthcare workers in England got the flu vaccine in 2010, despite all frontline healthcare workers being encouraged to get vaccinated.
Dr Peter Carter, of the Royal College of Nursing, said while NHS staff should not be forced to get immunised, they had a professional duty to do so. “Patients and healthcare staff suffer when nurses are off sick. It is vital that nurses do all they can to take responsibility for their own health and of those around them.”
Staff across the Trust will be able to get their flu vaccination at a number of specially arranged clinics across the Trust without disrupting their daily routines and appointments.
The NHS as a whole encourages frontline staff to get vaccinated – not only to reduce the risk of flu being passed on to service users but also to ensure services can continue to run smoothly and efficiently throughout the winter months. The swine flu vaccine is now contained within the seasonal flu vaccination. Every year the most likely viruses that will cause flu are identified in advance and vaccines are then produced that closely match them.
Alan Davies, director of human resources and workforce development at the Trust said, “I very much hope that frontline NHS staff will get the vaccination and would urge them to do so. Trust staff provide vital services to our local communities. It is essential that all frontline staff get themselves vaccinated against flu – to not only protect themselves and their families but also to protect the people they work with.”
A National NHS Staff Seasonal Flu Vaccination Campaign launched in September and uses resources like Twitter and Facebook, as well as leaflets, to encourage more healthcare professionals to get vaccinated.
As well as frontline health staff, its is also recommended that you have the jab if you are; over 65, pregnant, have a serious medical condition, live in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility, a main carer or a social care worker.
The Trust encourages local people to speak to their GP or other health professional about the vaccination.