Many more nurses getting flu jab this year
Flu vaccinations are being taken by many more NHS nurses this winter, new government figures suggest.
A record percentage of NHS employees are taking the jab - at a level nearly a fifth (19%) higher than last year.
It is a substantial contribution to the NHS’s 2013-14 winter strategy, helping keep staff healthy and safeguard susceptible patients.
NHS Employers, which organises the yearly national NHS flu fighter scheme, has attributed the statistics to excellent engagement between staff and managers.
They are collectively running creative local projects over the country.
The new numbers from Public Health England find that nearly half its frontline staff (453,013 or 48.6%) were vaccinated against flu between September 1 and November 30.
This is a 19% greater percentage than the 412,599 employees (40.8%) vaccinated in the corresponding timespan last year.
It already surpasses the overall total at the end of 2012-13, when 45.6% were vaccinated, compared with the 2013-14 running total of 48.6%.
Eight NHS trusts have already hit at least three-quarters, while 57 NHS trusts have reached 60% or over and 151 trusts (out of all 272) have already beaten their final totals from 2012-13.
Head of health at UNISON and staff side chair, Christina McAnea, said her union is backing the flu vaccines.
She said the increase in take-up is proof that employees want to stay healthy to provide care for patients at a peak time for demands on the NHS.
She added: “This campaign is successful and it’s about managers, staff and their trade unions working closely together.”
Flu vaccinations are a cheap and life-saving way to safeguard workers, their families and their patients.
The flu season was mild in 2012-13.
But the amount of patients with flu who needed intensive treatment still rose, with 107 of those patients (11.3%) in the UK dying from it.