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Staff flu vaccination rates to affect hospital funding


Hospital staff are being told to have the winter flu jab - or risk their A&E departments missing out on crucial funding.

A £500m government bailout, announced last month, will see £250m ploughed into services this year to prepare for the extra pressure of winter. But the remaining £250m pot for 2014-15 will only be shared by those trusts whose staff flu vaccination rates reach at least 75% this winter.

Last year, fewer than half of frontline NHS staff had the jab, with the figure fewer than one in five in some hospitals.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We can’t ignore the fact that winter brings extra pressure for the NHS, particularly in already busy A&E departments. That’s why we’re helping the A&E departments that need it the most with a £250m support fund this year and next.

“One of the simplest ways we can support hospitals under pressure and protect patients is to target flu. On average, around 27,000 people spend time in hospital because of flu each winter.

“So this year and next I want every trust to vaccinate more than 75% of staff against flu to protect vulnerable patients and staff. To make sure that happens, we’ve set this tough 75% target for every hospital hoping to get winter funding next year.”

The Department of Health believes such a dramatic rise in uptake of the jab is possible, singling out the Royal Liverpool University Hospital for praise as it vaccinated more than 80% of staff last winter.

Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies said: “Frontline staff, by the very nature of their jobs, deal with people who are unwell every day. Simply by having the flu vaccine, as recommended by the GMC, NHS staff can play an important role in not picking up the flu virus and passing it on to other patients - often people who are already poorly and vulnerable to infection.

“Currently less than half of frontline NHS staff get vaccinated against flu - and in some hospitals, this figure drops to fewer than one in five. I urge all frontline staff to get vaccinated and encourage their colleagues to do so too.”

Another measure to tackle flu is a nasal spray vaccine for two and three-year-olds, to be administered at GP surgeries from next month.


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Readers' comments (39)

  • So informed choice is only for patients!!

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  • So if I choose not to be vaccinated - as is my perogative, my trust will suffer as a result of my personal choice......

    this is just bullying tactics - thought the NHS wanted to oust bullying culture - not encourage it??!!

    Absolutely shocking...disgusted!

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  • Totally shocked by this proposal, how can anyone think that this proposal is ethical? If this was suggested by another country we would be rightly horrified. I usually have a flu jab but I will not be having one via occupational health again, I don't will not be used in this way by anyone.

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  • Blackmail again; this time financial as well as emotional. How crap is that? I'll not be pushed into having the flu jab, and in fact this latest idea may well backfire on the government.

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  • what backhanded blackmail and not even subtle enough to go unperceived by nurses. It also grossly undermines their intelligence and personal choice.

    shocking behaviour from the DH and those supposed to be our leaders!

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  • what about the rest of the public, many of whom live with someone elderly, with chronic health problems, what a disgraceful way to try and bully anyone into some misguided guilt-trip.
    are they also going to insist that those at risk also have the flu jab or else they won't be admitted into hospital?
    this is a country that apparently prides itself on human rights and fairness to all.

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  • I will not have it at any price now.

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  • what about the individuals or your own family members who you could infect because you won't get off your high horses and have the jab?!?! It's only come to 'bullying tactics' because of the ignorance of staff NOT havingthe jab!!! Unless there is a cast iron medical reason for not having it it should be mandatory if you want to do the job! if not - work somewhere else! If people had been 'bullied' into MMR instead of listening to Wakefield then the lastest measles outbreak would probably not be happening!

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  • Anonymous | 11-Sep-2013 12:13 pm

    ignorance is not always the reason for non-vaccination. Unless there is a change in the law, it is a personal decision.

    everybody's arguments on all side must be respected.

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  • 'Anonymous | 11-Sep-2013 12:13' ... I really dont think this is about anybody being on a 'high horse'.

    People (yes nurses are still people!) should be allowed to make a choice and not be forced into a position where making said choice comes with emotional blackmail and financial penalty. Most nurses choose to have the flu jab as a matter of course to help reduce rates/ protect family friends & vulnerable patients - yet should be allowed the choice...simply put it is NOT ETHICAL to be dictated to and put in a 'YOU WILL' position however it's dressed up

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