The head of the NHS Employers organisation has hailed trusts and staff for their role in lifting the number of voluntary flu jabs towards its highest level.
The Department of Health’s official figures reveal that 44% of frontline NHS staff had been vaccinated against flu before the end of last year - an increase of 1% on the same period in 2011.
The number has continued to rise since the end of December, leading to predictions that this winter’s total will go past the record 44.7% recorded 12 months ago. It will mark a significant increase since 2011, when only 34.7% of staff members guarded against flu.
Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation which has headed the national flu fighter campaign over the past two years, said NHS trusts and their staff have done a “fantastic job” to bring about a marked improvement in the number of vaccinations each year.
“Almost half a million NHS staff are now vaccinated and this greatly reduces the chance of them contracting flu, and passing it on to their family or vulnerable patients,” he said.
“The flu jab isn’t compulsory, so it’s a major achievement to mobilise this many staff to get vaccinated and we are proud of their commitment to keeping the NHS safe for patients and colleagues.
“This year social media has become even more important to the campaign and it’s great to see staff really owning it and adding so much local flavour and enthusiasm.”
Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust leads the way, with 86.3% of frontline staff vaccinated against flu.
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals Foundation Trust is next with 80.9%, while 79.4% of staff at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust have received their jab.