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Hospital staff warning as NHS Confederation issues swine flu guidance

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Hospital staff have been urged to ensure they get vaccinated against swine flu when drugs become available this month.

The NHS has ordered 132 million doses of vaccine, which will be distributed to PCTs for distribution to members of the public.

But guidance from the NHS Confederation has warned that staff who are likely to come into contact with the H1N1 virus should also be vaccinated.

The guidance states: ‘We know that uptake of vaccines among NHS staff tends to be fairly low. Local leadership will have a critical role to play to ensure a high uptake – particularly in acute trusts where uptake can be among the lowest, but where the need may actually be greatest.’

Meanwhile chief executives and boards have been urged to ensure responsibility for flu preparedness sits with an individual.

They must also stress-test pandemic plans to ensure they can continue providing high quality care to flu and non-flu patients, including during a second sustained flu wave of up to five months.

Other measures recommended in the guidance include testing constraints on capacity caused by increased demand, and drawing up a staff vaccination plan with trade unions.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • As a key frontline worker on an accident and emergency dept, I must say I feel that we are not as prepared with recieving this virus first hand as we should be or as all the publicity says we are. We are recieving patients (usually as a GP referral) with potential infections of swine flu because of associated problems such as chest pain and abdominal pains etc, although I agree these patients need to be treated we have no isolation ward allocated to do so. Also we as frontline healthcare staff have been offered no vaccinations against the illness, which is now showing obvious signs of its pandemic status .

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  • I'm a little confused by this article. Vaccines against swine flu will be available at the end on this month?I have been under the impression that it takes 6 to 12 months to develop a vaccine from isolation of the strain of a particular disease. Has this process changed?

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