All front line staff are expected to be vaccinated against flu in 2018, and those who are not should be asked why or even be redeployed to other areas, NHS leaders have said.
NHS England and NHS Improvement are calling for NHS trusts across the country to aim for a ‘near universal’ uptake from their front line staff of the 2018 flu vaccination to help reduce the impact of flu ahead of the winter months.
To support this, the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that £145m has been allocated to trusts for the implementation of plans to maintain services during the flu season.
In the winter of 2017, 68.7% of front line healthcare workers received the vaccination, with some trusts vaccinating more than 90% of their staff – the highest rate on record.
But NHS leaders have stated that staff who decide not to be vaccinated should be asked to explain the reason, so that the organisation can use the information to support greater compliance. Furthermore, in hospital departments where patients are most at risk of flu, they have said it may be appropriate for those who choose not to be vaccinated to be redeployed to other areas.
“NHS staff did a remarkable job last winter as the health service faced a perfect storm of flu, stomach bugs and unusually severe weather,” said Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer at NHS England.
“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.”