Thousands of doctors, nurses and other hospital staff are set to be vaccinated against seasonal flu as Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust begins its winter flu campaign in earnest.
For the second year running, the Trust is aiming to become one of the best performing Trusts in the country for staff uptake of the flu vaccination and, in doing so, will be protecting vulnerable patients from the potentially fatal effects of seasonal flu.
Vaccination against this year’s most common strain of seasonal flu will also help to protect the hospitals’ workforce and ensure staffing levels remain high at a time when pressures on hospital services and emergency care are known to increase.
Maureen Mitchell, Occupational Health Nurse for the Trust says:
“Vaccination against seasonal flu is important for doctors, nurses and other frontline healthcare workers as it not only protects themselves from the virus but it also protects our patients, many of whom are seriously ill and vulnerable to infection.
“Across all of our sites, we employ around 7,500 people who are eligible for the seasonal flu vaccination. Thanks to a concerted effort from our Occupational Health Team and teams of volunteer staff vaccinators who ensured jabs were available 24/7, last year more than four in every five members of staff received the jab. This year, we’re looking to increase this rate still further and ensure that some of the most seriously ill and vulnerable people in our community are afforded the protection they deserve.”
Flu vaccination rates within the Trust have improved leaps and bounds over recent years. Last year, 81% of Trust employees received a flu jab, compared to just 14% two years earlier. It is this remarkable improvement which has led to the Trust’s Occupational Health Team being shortlisted for a 2013 Nursing Times Award*.
“The increase in our flu vaccination uptake last year also translated into an 80% reduction in working days lost to cold and flu. With demands on NHS services and urgent care in particular showing no signs of abating this winter, it’s important that we do all we can to ensure business continuity and that our workforce remains fit and ready to cope with the forthcoming winter pressures. Vaccinating staff forms an essential part of this preparation.”