A foundation trust considered whether the flu jab could be made compulsory for staff, Nursing Times can reveal.
The board of Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust looked at mandatory jabs last October and went as far as consulting solicitors about the legality of such a scheme.
But the trust eventually dropped the idea after receiving legal advice about potential difficulties in enforcing any compulsory scheme.
There was concern that forcing staff to be vaccinated – for example, through their contracts, could contravene European human rights legislation.
A trust spokesman told Nursing Times: “The general feeling is that it would not be possible to mandate the flu vaccine. We will continue to encourage all staff to have the flu vaccination for their own protection and that of our patients.”
The aim of the move was to get 60% of the trust’s staff vaccinated following a 2010 take up of just 27%. The trust cannot yet say how many staff took up voluntary flu vaccination in 2011.
National provisional flu uptake figures, published by the Department of Health in November, suggested more healthcare professionals had received the vaccine this winter than in previous years. Around 30% had been vaccinated by that point, compared to 11% for the same time 2010.
Overall just 30% of hospital nurses and midwives had the jab during the 2010-11 flu season.