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The big question: should funding be withheld from A&Es if staff don’t have the flu jab?


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.”

What do you think of this move?


Readers' comments (12)

  • Matilda McCrrimmon

    Would like to see correlation of staff with vaccines and local flu versus those without and local flu. Also shareholders of vaccination companies? Really can't understand why every initiative in NHS England is associated with financial penalty. ps Could you state NHS England in articles as there are now 4 NHSs.

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  • No definitely not. these two factors are totally unrelated.

    there must be far better ways to target 'flu and vaccine uptake than blackmailing and coercing the staff, and penalising patients by not offering them the best possible resources for their emergency services.

    such a scheme and setting yet more inflexible "targets" is despicable!

    targets are financial goals which should be confined to the admin. and accountancy side of running the NHS and removed altogether from healthcare parlance where they have no place. Obviously the goals of any healthcare workers and patients who walk through the door is to restore their health and get them well again but the processes by which this is achieved should not focus on aiming at rigid and unrealistic and conceptual targets. People are individuals and not inanimate objects! If you focus on the targets you risk losing site of the needs of these sentient and vulnerable human beings who happen to be patients entrusting the care to these services!

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  • What is this Big Brother? Last time I looked we had human rights and a system that didn't force individuals to do anything against their wishes by blackmailing their employers.

    Stupid question!

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  • How would this be policed? Are staff medical records no longer confidential?

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  • Agree with all the above. Its Disgusting! there are many reasons why people do not have the flu vaccine.
    This is typical of this disgusting government who are treating nurses as though they are a herd of cattle, blackmailing staff of sanctions for their workplace and the patients they care for.

    They need to make up their minds. Either nurses are uncaring, incompetent and lack compassion; or they are thinking, feeling human beings who have the same rights as everyone else as to what is injected into their bodies.

    The memory of the previous Tory Cabinet Minister feeding his child beef burgers during the "mad cow" crisis springs to mind........... but now they are blackmailing nurses to do their dirty work.

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  • Why isn't there a higher uptake of the flu vaccination though? I've been having it every year for about 15 years, it's no big deal.

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  • Its just another threat "if you dont do this you will suffer", if the government stopped threatening staff perhaps they could get on with the job they do best like caring for patients without the threat of punishment.

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  • Absolutely ridiculous idea!

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  • appalling that anybody could even think of such an idea.

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