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Trust chief executive and nurse administers landmark flu jab

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The chief executive of a hospital trust, who is also a registered nurse, has given the jab that took his organisation past a landmark point in its annual influenza vaccination campaign.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has become the first acute provider in the country to vaccinate 75% of its frontline staff against flu for the second year in a row.

“It’s particularly important that we hit the target this year”

Richard Parker

The trust, which runs three hospitals, has administered over 3,000 vaccines to staff directly involved in patient care and treatment in just five weeks.

The campaign has been spearheaded by a dedicated team of vaccinators supported by “peer vaccinators” in various roles, including the organisation’s chief executive Richard Parker.

Mr Parker, who is also the trust’s former director of nursing, administered the jab to a number of staff during the period, including the 3,385th one that took it over the target.

The team visited wards and departments in order to give clinicians easy access to the vaccine, while providing special drop-in sessions for weekend workers and night staff, noted the trust.

Describing it as an “all hands on deck” model, the trust noted that it had hit the target in record time, reaching the threshold a week ahead of last year’s performance.

Mr Parker said: “It’s particularly important that we hit the target this year, as we’re expecting a particularly bad flu season this winter.

“I want to say well done to the vaccination team for their tireless efforts, and to the 3,385 members of staff who’ve had their jabs,” he said.

This year, trusts have been told to “ramp up” efforts to ensure nurses, doctors and other staff receive the free flu jab, ahead of the predictions, which are based on the southern hemisphere’s experience.

Free flu jabs are also to be extended to all care home staff in England, as part of package of new “contingency actions” designed to help frontline services cope with pressures this winter.

The trust noted that would continue to vaccinate its frontline workforce as well as offering the vaccine to non-frontline staff, to further reduce the risk of hospital patients contracting flu.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, which runs the national flu fighter campaign, said: “This is a truly impressive achievement and shows real dedication to the flu fighter campaign.

Daniel Mortimer

Daniel Mortimer

Danny Mortimer

“In order to stem the tide of infection, it’s especially important for frontline health and care workers to be vaccinated, as they will have the greatest contact with vulnerable people, such as the elderly and the very young,” he said.

“We hope other trusts will follow this stellar example before what many experts are predicting could be a very challenging winter,” added Mr Mortimer.

Although last year saw record take up of influenza vaccination, official data shows more than one in three NHS staff still failed to have the jab, with just one in five being vaccinated in some trusts.

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