South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has joined the largest ever NHS staff vaccination campaign with a programme of local activity to protect staff from flu – and to reduce the chances of people who use Trust services catching the virus.
The Trust is aiming to reduce the spread of flu this season by vaccinating as many frontline staff as possible. It is joining the national NHS flu fighter staff vaccination campaign, which will support NHS trusts in England to improve staff flu vaccination uptake this flu season.
Every year in the UK, flu kills hundreds of people who are elderly, very young or weakened by illness.
Steven Michael, Trust chief executive, choose to have a flu jab and said, “I was very happy to have my jab and grateful that the NHS provides staff with this opportunity. In 2010/11, flu caused 602 deaths in England and nearly 9,000 patients were admitted to hospital, of which 2,200 were admitted to intensive care. Flu can be a deadly virus and it’s important we protect ourselves so we can continue to care for others.”
Representatives from the Trust’s unions (staff side) are also getting behind the campaign. Paul Smith, RCN representative said, “South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust takes patient safety very seriously and we will be working hard to encourage our frontline clinical staff to get vaccinated – helping to prevent them from catching flu or passing the virus on to people they care for. As a dad, I also want to protect my family.”
Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation who are running the national campaign, said: “The bottom line is that staff who are protected against flu can’t pass it to their patients. The NHS sees millions of patients every year whose age or poor health means flu could have a serious impact on their lives. This is why it’s so important for staff to choose to get their vaccinations. If we reduce the chances of staff contracting flu, we can really drive down the possibility of passing it on to patients.
“We really want to make staff aware that vaccinations are safe and extremely effective. Traditionally, the take up of vaccinations among staff has been low, but with the fantastic support of NHS organisations including South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, we can drive up vaccinations and protect patients. I hope this year we will see flu vaccinations become commonplace for NHS staff and I’m sure patients want to see the same.”
The NHS flu fighter campaign, now in its second year, aims to raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination against flu and educates staff about the availability of the free vaccine. Flu jabs for NHS staff are not compulsory, so can only be given to those who request them.