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Mandatory flu jabs for nurses among RCN congress resolutions

Mandatory flu vaccination for nursing staff and an “honest debate” about the future of general hospital services will be among the issues debated at this year’s Royal College of Nursing congress.

The RCN has just released details of the agenda for the 2012 congress, which will take place in Harrogate between 13 and 17 May.

Matters for debate tabled so far include whether the “media is a friend or foe of nursing” and whether pre-registration nurses education is “fit for purpose”.

RCN Bedfordshire branch has also brought a resolution calling on congress to “recommend a career in nursing to the next generation” while the Suffolk branch wants the college to “lobby in favour of moves to offer financial incentives to be healthy”.

Last year’s conference was dominated by debate on the government’s health and social care bill, and speculation over whether health secretary Andrew Lansley would address congress about it.

He was heavily criticised for subsequently choosing to speak to a select group of members instead of addressing the full conference.

Readers' comments (29)

  • We shouldn't be having any discussion around anything that restricts choice, whether for patients or nurses. What is going on? Flu jab for nurses = nurses choice. Patients have the choice, therefore nurses have the same freedom to choose. END OF!

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  • Is legal or feasible to single out one group such as nurses and force them to have 'flu jabs? What are the UK and EU regs on this? Does this not contravene the Declaration of Human Rights?

    'Flu vaccines change each year so the appropriate one may not be administered each time to meet the needs as other strains of 'flu develop. Secondly the supportive evidence on the safety and efficacity of the vaccines is still inadequate.

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  • What are they going to do; hold us down and jab us against our will? I don't think so somehow. The assault cases would be rather hard to deal with wouldn't they? We have the right to decline or accept the jab just like our patients.

    I think there are rather more important things to discuss at congress than trying to force nurses to have the flu jab. What idiot had that not so bright idea?

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  • michael stone

    I think that somehow forcing nurses to have flu jabs is a step too far.

    But it is very difficult to push the advice that 'the public should accept vaccinations in order to prevent the spread of diseases' if nurses, who are in contact with ill and presumably somewhat vulnerable patients as part of their job, do not seem to have higher vaccination rates than the general public.

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  • michael stone

    PS - forgot to put this bit in: IF somehow nurses were forced to have the flu jab, clearly so would GPs and everyone else who had a lot of patient contact, also need to be required to have the jabs.

    But it won't happen - you will just keep getting told that that as HCPs you should decide to be vaccinated, as to do otherwise 'isn't professionally appropriate/responsible'.

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  • those who refuse vaccination have valid personal reasons of their own for doing so and should be above questioning.

    Anonymous | 11-Feb-2012 3:04 pm

    I agree, and imagine the extra costs to the NHS for litigation, and even more if any damage was done. Where would this money come from?

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  • A lot of the flu viruses aren't among the 3 that the vaccine is supposed to cover anyway.

    We are expected to feel guilty if we don't have the jab and protect the vulnerable, but the relatives of these patients don't worry about bringing their colds, flu or norovirus into hospital when they visit when unwell. Like I said in my previous post earlier today, The RCN have more important things to debate right now, particularly the health bill.

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  • Why does Michael Stone persist in making such pointless comments all over the NT sites. He is not a nurse and is therefore not involved. What is he trying to achieve?

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  • By way of an aside, where is the other Mike? Haven't seen his posts for ages, unless I just missed them.

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  • Anonymous | 11-Feb-2012 11:00 pm

    this concern has been mentioned elsewhere and we hope he is OK.

    we have speculated that perhaps he has gone off to his job in Australia as planned.

    However, I wonder whether he has secreted himself away to prepare for the post of Chief in one of the big nursing organisations! Anyone second that?

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  • He wouldn't have gone to Australia without telling us surely? He would have wanted to shout it from the rooftops!

    Or perhaps he is is planning a takeover bid to oust Peter Carter from his post so that he can make a better job of it!!

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  • Anonymous | 12-Feb-2012 11:47 am

    possible, but I was thinking more of the NMC!

    true, its strange he hasn't said if he had gone to Oz.

    I haven't seen a post from him since before Christmas and I access quite a few of the articles every day where he usually posted.

    Just wonder whether Jenni or Mark would know as they seem to have corresponded with each other? but maybe the would not be able to give out any information.

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  • Anonymous | 12-Feb-2012 11:47 am

    just e-mailed Jenni to ask her if she knows where Mike is to ask him to send us a sign.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 11-Feb-2012 11:00 pm

    I also miss mike's posts, which although coming from a clear overall position were more rationally argued than many are. But would his being in Australia, stop mike from posting ?

    I hope he is okay.

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  • "Matters for debate tabled so far include whether... pre-registration nurses education is “fit for purpose”."

    I think that most of the people in my cohort would agree that our pre-reg training has not been 'fit for purpose' as we have just 7 months left and not one of us feels ready to qualify. Maybe that will change in the next 6 months.

    As for mandatory injections, I'm pretty certain that no one can force me to be injected against my will, especially as I have never had the flu, so why would I accept being stabbed in the arm every year to be vaccinated against something I have never had?!

    Cochrane reviewed in 2010 whether or not vaccinating health care workers can help protect the elderly patients with whom they work. In conclusion, the authors state that: "[T]here is no evidence that vaccinating health care workers prevents influenza in elderly residents in long-term care facilities."

    Thomas RE, Jefferson T, Lasserson TJ (2010). "Influenza vaccination for healthcare workers who work with the elderly". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2): CD005187.

    There doesn't seem to be very conflicting information about the efficacy of these vaccinations and I for one am not comfortable being vaccinated with something that hasn't been confrimed as working.

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  • Mandatory flu jabs - great idea. But it doesn't go far enough, does it?

    How about adding:
    Mandatory abstenance from alcohol.
    Mandatory abstenance from tobacco (yes, that's 24/7) - breath test on arrival at work and if you have had a puff - there's the door, matey!
    Mandatory 5 a day.
    Mandatory 20 minutes exercise every day (witnessed by your 'performance manager' prior to your shift, of course).
    No take-away pizza/fish & chips, in fact any high saturated fatty foods.
    Weekly psychometric testing.
    Monthly confession.

    Now, that something worth talking about...

    Oh, wait, no....back in the real world:
    Glad to see the RCN is not planning to waste my money with pointless debates.

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  • Middle class fascists raise their ugly heads.

    I will not be vaccinated if it is mandatory [though I am when it is voluntary!] When will these muppets get off their high horse? Bet these smug eejits also vote against opposing pension reform.


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  • I think perhaps the RCN should reconsider their agenda for congress. The flu jab idea is just sucking up to the government, who wanted us all to be vaccinated prior to yet another pandemic that didn't happen!

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  • I am against vaccinating healthy individuals for 'flu if is against their will in view of all the controversy surrounding the vaccines, and the risks, no matter how small, which are involved with any medication or vaccine.

    It should, however, be ready available, easily accessible
    and free for all healthcare professionals and students who consider themselves in high risk groups because of their own health or for the protection of particularly vulnerable patients but it should be the responsibility of each professional practitioner to assess these risks and weigh them against the benefits of vaccination.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 12-Feb-2012 6:29 pm

    There is 'no convincing evidence' for an awful lot of both things and behaviours, as it happens.

    And, amazingly often, what 'we are certain is right' at one point (say 1970) turns out to be considered completely wrong subsequently (say 2005).

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