Trusts have been reminded that it is their responsibility to offer free flu vaccination to student nurses.
NHS Employers, which represents trusts and other health service organisations, said last week it had received “a lot of queries recently” asking for clarification on whether students were entitled to receive a free seasonal flu vaccination and, if so, who was responsible for delivering it.
In a statement NHS Employers said “all placement staff working with patients” were entitled to receive the vaccination from the organisation they were on placement with, as described in chapter 12 of the Green Book on national immunisation policy.
“The trust should be arranging and funding their staff’s seasonal flu vaccinations, with the term ‘staff’ encompassing students, trainees and volunteers as outlined in the Green Book,” the statement said.
“It is the trust’s responsibility to consider the safety of the student and the patients they care for,” it added.
The reminder from NHS Employers has worrying echoes of last autumn when students told Nursing Times they were being refused the free jab by both trusts and GPs, with up to a quarter possibly affected (news, page 2, 8 November 2011).
Trusts had told them to get the vaccine from their GP practice because they were not employees, but GPs told them to go to their placement organisation because they did not fit the patient criteria that enabled the practice to receive a vaccination payment from their primary care trust.