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Infection prevention specialist nurse named ‘flu fighter champion’

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An infection prevention specialist nurse from Yorkshire has been given a national award for her work to encourage influenza vaccination among her trust’s staff ahead of last winter.

Joanne Reynard, from Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, was named this year’s “flu fighter champion” at the annual Flu Fighter Awards, run by the body NHS Employers and supported by Nursing Times.

“Well done to all of those trying to do something special to push up their vaccination rates”

Jenni Middleton

Ms Reynard led a social media campaign, with its own brand through the creation of “Frankie and Flo” flu bug mascots, and also led a switch to the computer-based system of recording vaccines.

Her “determination was key” in helping Leeds Community Healthcare reach a 76.8% vaccination rate, said NHS Employers.

She was among the range of trusts and healthcare workers across the country recognised with awards for their campaigns to cut the spread of influenza in hospitals and care facilities.

Winners included NHS trusts, individuals, clinical commissioning groups and borough councils – all of whom were credited with encouraging staff to get their flu jab to protect themselves and others.

The annual flu fighter awards took place in the evening of Tuesday 24 April at the Midland Hotel in Manchester. The winners who received a glass trophy each were:

  • Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – Most innovative flu fighter campaign
  • Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust – Most improved flu fighter campaign
  • Salford Clinical Commissioning Group – flu fighter +
  • Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council – flu fighter care
  • Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust – #flufighter award for digital and social media
  • Joanne Reynard, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust – flu fighter champion
  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust – Best flu fighter team

Officials from national bodies including NHS Improvement and NHS England presented the awards to the winners, along with Nursing Times editor Jenni Middleton.

Ms Middleton, who was a judge for the awards and also a keynote speaker at the ceremony, said: “I am delighted to be supporting the flu fighter awards, the culmination of the flu fighter campaign.

“Every year the ideas get more innovative – and yes, a bit funnier too. And choosing the winners gets a bit more difficult as a result,” she said. “But it is a joy to do it, because I know the difference having the jab makes to people being cared for in our NHS.

“Well done to all of those trying to do something special to push up their vaccination rates. I am pleased to see that this year you’ve achieved a record rate of staff receiving the vaccine as a result of their hard work,” she added.

“These staff have helped to protect our most vulnerable patients from the devastating effects of flu”

Danny Mortimer

To deliver the national seasonal flu campaign for NHS staff, NHS Employers works in partnership with Public Health England, supported by the Department of Health.

The latest flu vaccination uptake figures from Public Health England show that 704,242 frontline healthcare workers have been vaccinated, 85,000 more than in the 2016-17 flu season.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers and host of the awards, said: “These awards are a fantastic celebration of the hard work and dedication that flu teams across the country have put into their flu fighter campaigns this year.

“These staff have helped to protect our most vulnerable patients from the devastating effects of flu,” he added.

Further details about the winners:

NHS Employers

Flu Fighters 2018

Source: NHS Employers

Winners of NHS Employers’ flu fighter awards pose for a group shot at the Midland Hotel, Manchester, on 24 April, 2018

Best flu fighter team – Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Cambridge University Hospitals had a trust-wide flu team and a campaign which ensured that they reached their highest ever uptake and vaccinated nearly 80% of staff within the first six weeks of the campaign.

Flu fighter champion – Joanne Reynard, Leeds Community Healthcare Trust

Joanne had led on a massive social media campaign, giving the campaign its own brand through the creation of ‘Frankie and Flo’ flu bug mascots and led a switch to the computer-based system of recording vaccines. Joanne’s determination was key in helping the trust reach a 76.8% vaccination rate.

Most innovative flu fighter campaign – Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust capitalised on the popularity of the Game of Thrones franchise, using it to great effect in its ‘Winter is coming/putting patients first’ communications campaign.

Most improved flu fighter campaign – Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust saw its uptake of the vaccine improve from 38% to 72.1%. This 33.4% increase was thanks to a huge publicity campaign and increased social media activity.

Flu fighter+ – Salford Clinical Commissioning Group

NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group worked collaboratively with City Council & City West Housing to deliver a campaign to increase the uptake of the flu jab among those aged 65 and over. They had a vast social media presence, coverage in local media, a film that went viral and a comprehensive face-to-face engagement strategy which resulted in 74.8% of over 65s (27,804 people) receiving their jab in 2017-18.

Flu fighter care – Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council worked in partnership with the adult social care sector to ensure that all care homes had a plan of action to vaccinate their staff and their residents for the flu. Coupled with a local standard operations manual for the management of flu outbreak in care homes, the initiative insured that 55% of care homes had an uptake rate of at least 50%.

#flufighter award for digital and social media – Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust

Bradford District Care made staff the stars of their communications, creating a series of new screensavers each week featuring images of staff members who had received their jab with their mascot, Hugh the blue flu bug. These were also shared across social media platforms. The initiative helped the trust reach their highest uptake of 83%.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Wow!!. That was a heart wrenching story of Flu wise to read. last year saw horrible unnecessary deaths from complications of the flu. Even myself was borderline pneumonia and took 3 weeks recovery. i have the flu jab every year and not without discomfort and having effects afterwards but it is worth it to know I am covered. A little bot of discomfort saves lives in the end. Congratulations to that flu fighting team.

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